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The VA Medical Center Addresses Mental Health Criticism

A federal appeals court in San Francisco has ordered the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department to overhaul its mental health care for vets with symptoms of combat stress. Two veterans organizations sued the VA, arguing vets are waiting too long to get treatment.

Kathleen Kim, acting chief of staff at the VA Medical Center in La Jolla, said she is unable to address the issues raised in the law suit. But she said the Medical Center is meeting required goals set by the VA.

“Several years ago, the VA implemented the rule that if someone came in with a mental health complaint, that he or she is triaged within 24 hours, and sees a mental health provider within 14 days," said Kim. "We have been very successful at meeting that measure.”

Kim said of the 28,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan enrolled with the VA in this region, 1,200 are diagnosed with PTSD. She said the VA Medical Center in La Jolla has 12 mental health professionals assigned to treat them. They also have 20 case managers.

The VA offers group therapy but the younger vets prefer individual treatment, added Kim.

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