By By Alex PappasPublished Dec 17, 2016 12:23AMA new report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, has warned the VA health system may have “systemic problems” that will put the nation at risk.
The findings of the study are contained in a report called The Future of the Veterans Health Administration, published Tuesday.
The report warns that the VA has a “significant risk” of not meeting its statutory responsibilities to ensure patients receive quality care.
The problem, the report states, is that VA has “a fragmented system of care for veterans who have committed suicide, and in many cases are not receiving timely and appropriate care.”
The VA has the largest patient population of any VA health care system.
According to the report, VA has been slow to respond to suicides and deaths at the VA Medical Center, which is located in Clarksville, Tennessee.
According the report:The problem is that “VA has not taken appropriate steps to improve the quality of care in these hospitals, and the VA does not have an independent, independent monitor to assess the quality and efficacy of VA’s care.”
It’s a problem that VA Secretary Bob McDonald acknowledged in a statement released Tuesday, stating that he was “very concerned” about.
The VA has said that McDonald is “currently evaluating the report and will determine the appropriate response.”
The report says that the department is in the midst of developing a plan to address the issue, and that it will present that plan to the VA board of directors at its Dec. 7 meeting.”VA’s inability to meet its obligations to patients and the safety of its facilities is a public health and safety issue that must be addressed, and must be managed by VA and the Board of Directors,” the report reads.
McDonald said that “this is a significant issue” and that the Department of Veterans Affairs will address it.
The department has already announced that it is “looking at a comprehensive plan to ensure the quality, safety, and continuity of care at VA hospitals.”
The issue of suicide is “very significant,” said Dr. Michael T. Miller, a professor of health policy at Harvard University.
Miller said that the report provides “a sobering picture of what’s happening in the VA.”
Miller said that a VA suicide prevention program is a “pretty good idea” because it addresses the issue of lack of mental health services.
The VA suicide rate is “a real problem,” Miller added, and it needs to be addressed.
“We have the largest suicide rate in the country,” he said.
“VA should do everything it can to improve patient care.”
Miller also warned that VA is in “disarray” and needs to improve its suicide prevention programs.
“There are so many variables that we don’t know what the root causes of suicide are, and there is a lack of clear information about suicide among VA employees,” Miller said.
Miller added that the agency needs to “be more proactive” to prevent suicide.
The National Academy of Science says that VA needs to do a better job of supporting veterans who commit suicide, such as “supporting them with mental health counseling and treatment.”VA Secretary Bob Mancini also has made a “credible commitment” to addressing the problem.
“The Secretary’s ongoing focus on improving mental health care is an important part of the VA’s long-term strategic plan, and I commend the Secretary for his commitment to addressing this crisis,” Mancino said in a prepared statement.
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs has a suicide prevention plan, but Miller said it doesn’t address VA’s mental health problems.
“I think it’s very important that we have a comprehensive mental health plan, because it helps us understand the dynamics of suicide and how it works,” Miller told The Associated Press.
“If we don, then it’s going to be very difficult for us to get through these next two years.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.