GAO: VA Mental Health Care: Improvements Needed in Tracking and Overseeing Partnerships with Nongovernmental Entities

“The Department of Veterans Affairs partners with nongovernmental groups, like non-profits or universities, through formal agreements aimed at making veterans aware of available suicide prevention programs and mental health services.

Within VA, 7 different offices make these agreements, but information about them isn’t tracked centrally. As a result, VA can’t readily search or identify all of its suicide prevention and mental health agreements.

VA has designed a system that could track all agreements, but doesn’t require its use, and hasn’t adequately trained staff on it. We recommended that VA require its use, among other things.”

“What GAO Found

In an effort to reduce veteran suicides, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) tries to reach veterans through partnerships with nongovernmental entities using memorandums of agreement (agreements) focused on mental health and suicide prevention efforts. However, VA cannot readily track—that is, search for and identify—the full universe of its suicide prevention and mental health agreements. For example, it took officials from VA and its Veterans Health Administration (VHA) more than 4 months to identify for GAO 43 relevant agreements entered into across seven offices over a 5-year period.”

Access the full 39-page report here.

Source: VA Mental Health Care:Improvements Needed in Tracking and Overseeing Partnerships with Nongovernmental Entities – January 13, 2022. GAO.

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