Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) January 20, 2012 – An executive within the Wounded Warrior Project delivered a scathing critique of how the Department of Veterans Affairs is handling veterans in need of mental health care before a Senate committee in November.
In his testimony, WWP’s executive vice president John Roberts gave the committee evidence both in stories and statistics that the VA’s mental health care delivery system is overburdened and poorly coordinated.
Jim Fausone, a veterans disability lawyer with Legal Help for Veterans, said the VA is failing many of these veterans by not making it easy to access care. “It’s important that mental health care not just be available to veterans, but that it be encouraged and that it produces real results in their lives,” Fausone said. “There are so many veterans out there who can use this help, it needs to be a significant priority of the VA.”
The Wounded Warrior Project sent out its own survey to its membership in November and got 900 responses back. Of those responding to the survey, half of those who attempted to get mental health care through the VA had difficulty accessing care and one in three went untreated, Roberts told the Senate committee.
Roberts reported the Wounded Warrior Project is requesting the VA do three things immediately to improve care.
1. The VA must better utilize the country’s veterans’ centers and allocate more resources to be focused on mental health care there.
2. The agency needs to mount a peer-supported program to engage veterans in mental health treatment.
3. The government should utilize fee-based systems in places where veterans cannot be seen in a timely manner.
“All of these proposals would help the problem,” Fausone said. “But for veterans to seek the care they need, they should see in the VA’s actions that the agency is prioritizing taking care of not just the warrior’s physical health but their mental health too.”
James G. Fausone is a Veterans disability lawyer and Veterans attorney with Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC. To learn more or to contact a Veterans disability attorney or Veterans lawyer call 1.800.693.4800 or visit http://www.legalhelpforveterans.com.
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