Spark M. Matsunaga VA Medical Center Philosophy
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ABOUT SPARK M. MATSUNAGA VA MEDICAL CENTER
The Spark M. Matsunaga VA Medical Center (VAMC) is part of the Veterans' Affairs Pacific Islands Health Care System. Located in Honolulu, Hawaii, the center offers primary medical care, as well as inpatient and outpatient treatment for a wide array of mental and behavioral health conditions, including substance misuse disorder. The facility also hosts dedicated services for veterans in the LGBTQ community, women veterans, and veterans experiencing homelessness.
Run by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Spark M. Matsunaga VAMC is one of five treatment facilities in Hawaii (three percent of all facilities in the state) operated by the federal government. The center is also one of 21 facilities in the state (12.5 percent) to offer treatment specifically tailored to veterans.
TREATMENT & ASSESSMENT
The Spark M. Matsunaga VAMC aims to provide a full spectrum of care for individuals struggling with mental and behavioral health disorders, beginning with intake, assessment, and diagnosis, and progressing through treatment and aftercare. Treatment is available for those struggling with addiction and with other conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety, all of which may be co-occurring disorders with substance abuse.
Several of the center's programs for homeless veterans have substance use treatment components. These include programs such as the Homeless Patient Aligned Care Team (H-PACTs) program as well the Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) program.
Though the facility's website provides little further information about treatment specifics at the time of this writing, the lone individual polled by Rehabs.com to date indicated that they received addiction medications to help wean them off their drug of choice, plus 24-hour availability of staff.
The mental health department employs both generalist and specialist teams. Though no further information is provided by the center's website, the single individual polled by Rehabs.com to date gave the center five out of five stars for its staff's level of training and experience.
ACCOMMODATIONS & AMENITIES
The Spark M. Matsunaga VAMC is a large medical facility on a substantial VA campus. Though the center does not provide any further information regarding its living conditions and amenities, the single individual polled by Rehabs.com to date gave the center five stars for its cleanliness, accommodations, and meals/nutrition, as well as four stars for its exercise and leisure offerings.
WHAT ALUMNI SAY
The single alum polled by Rehabs.com to date would strongly recommend treatment at the Spark M. Matsunaga Center. "Once a person decides its time to kick their addiction, this is the right place. There are doctors on call 24hrs a day," the anonymous reviewer wrote, adding that they were provided with all the medications they needed and face-to-face time with staff.
Overall, the review was highly positive, though they did note that "Exercise areas were not plentiful." The anonymous alum gave the facility five stars for family participation and ability to treat co-occurring disorders, four stars for treatment effectiveness, and three stars for its holistic offerings and counseling options.
At the time of this writing, secondary review sites yielded no commentary on the Matsunaga Center's mental health and addiction provisions, in particular, but did however provide mixed feedback about the hospital as a whole. On the facility's unofficial Facebook page, it maintains a 3.1 out of five-star average based on the opinions of 31 people. The center maintains the same rating on Google, based on the opinions of 25 reviewers.
The negative reviewers repeatedly described frustration with the center's administrative practices, such as having difficulties making appointments and having calls returned. Reviewers that praised the center often wrote highly of the its' doctors and comped it favorably with other VA medical centers.
Though no information regarding pricing is provided by the Matsunaga Center, The United States VA website indicates that free medical care is offered to veterans with no dependents who have an annual income below $32,715, while those with a higher income receive treatment on a sliding fee scale. According to a 2017 SAMHSA survey, in Hawaii, 11.3 percent of treatment facilities provide treatment on a sliding fee scale, while 73.2 percent provide treatment at no charge for clients who can't pay.
In 2014, local news network KHON2 reported that Hawaii's VA Medical Center had received a "scathing audit," noting that veterans seeking services for the first time had to wait 145 days for an appointment, the longest wait time in the nation, according to the New York Post.
Published on February 2019
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