VA Mental Health Care: How Good Is It and How Can We Make It Better?

RAND Congressional Briefing Series

How effective is Veterans Administration (VA) care for the rapidly growing number of veterans with mental health and substance use issues? And what are the ways that it could be improved?

Come hear the lead author of a groundbreaking new RAND study talk about highlights and specific recommendations regarding the VA's capacity to deliver care to veterans with mental health and substance use disorders and the quality of the care that is delivered.

"While the VA does a better job at providing mental health services than other health care systems, there is still substantial room for improvement," said Dr. Katherine Watkins, lead author of the study. "With some changes, the VA could provide even better and more cost-effective care for the nation's veterans."

  • Watkins will discuss the study's specific recommendations to improve the effectiveness of VA mental health and substance use services.
  • Watkins will also discuss how VA's quality measures up to that of private-sector care and how VA care varies for veterans across different regions of the United States and for different diagnoses.
  • The RAND study, which included over 800,000 veterans, is the first comprehensive look at the full spectrum of clinical services provided to veterans with mental health issues, from assessment and treatment to chronic care management.

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