VA Puget Sound Health Care System - American Lake Division Philosophy
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ABOUT VA PUGET SOUND HEALTH CARE SYSTEM - AMERICAN LAKE DIVISION
Located on the shores of American Lake in Washington, this Tacoma facility is one of two divisions of the VA Puget Sound Health Care System. American Lake Division’s addiction treatment center provides evidence-based outpatient and residential care as part of a holistic approach to health and wellness. The facility is among the just 10.6 percent (42) of Washington state’s 396 substance abuse treatment facilities to provide programing tailored for veterans, and the 6.1 percent providing methadone as part of medication-assisted therapy. Inpatient medical detox services are available at the VA Puget Sound Seattle Division.
TREATMENT & ASSESSMENT
An initial substance abuse and mental health evaluation is available at the American Lake Division of VA Puget Sound Health Care System by appointment. According to the VA’s website, both residential and outpatient programming are offered primarily in a group format.
Veterans can expect to receive case management services; dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders, including PTSD and depression; gender-specific and gender-inclusive therapy; and alcohol and drug monitoring.
Referrals are provided for additional support, such as chronic pain management, smoking cessation, or more intensive treatment. Methadone maintenance may be incorporating into overall programming to minimize the discomfort of opioid withdrawal and help curb cravings.
The VA Puget Sound Health Care System American Lake Division employs psychologists, psychiatrists, addiction counselors, and social workers.
ACCOMMODATIONS & AMENITIES
At the time of this writing, the American Lake VA center is in the process of updating several historic buildings on-site. While no information specific to the inpatient addiction rehab accommodations is available, according to the VA Puget Sound website, residence is provided in the medical center’s 64-bed domiciliary.
According to a December 2018 news story on the VA’s website, the American Lake Division site also hosts a Sweat Lodge for veterans “seeking spiritual healing grounded in Native American traditions.”
Childcare is available to outpatient VA clients at the Tacoma health care center, a relatively rare amenity, which is offered at just 7.8 percent of treatment facilities in Washington.
WHAT ALUMNI SAY
Rehabs.com has not yet received any feedback for the American Lake Division of the VA Puget Sound Health Care System from former clients. Reviews across three third-party sites, however, revealed majority positive opinions, frequently emphasizing an accommodating staff, but long wait times for treatment.
The Tacoma general health care facility had an average rating of 3.8 out of five stars from 105 reviews on Google. A mix of alumni and family members referenced an array of departments and services, with no mention of addiction treatment. One reviewer gave just one star for mental health services, citing poor communication and disorganization. By contrast, in a more representative review, another alum concluded that “what they lack in speed they make up with friendliness." A few also mentioned the “beautiful setting” by American Lake.
Similar feedback was posted with average ratings of 3.7 of five stars based on the opinion of 203 reviewers on Facebook, which the facility may manage, and 3.5 out of five stars from 15 reviewers on Yelp.  One mention of mental health services on Yelp cited “long waits,” while another alum wrote in a typical review: “All people I have encountered are helpful and trying their best to provide services to a huge group of veterans.”
WHAT FRIENDS & FAMILY SAY
The sole loved one polled to date by Rehabs.com, a client’s spouse, awarded five out of five stars for each of 15 metrics measuring aspects of accommodations and treatment. Among these were positive evaluations of the staff’s level of training and experience, quality of treatment for co-occurring disorders, the facility’s cleanliness and upkeep, and family participation. She wrote that the American Lake VA staff treated her husband “very well and included me in his care plan.” Family opinions were mixed along the same lines as alumni on other review sites.
The VA recommends that veterans maintain private insurance coverage, which reduces out-of-pocket costs for eligible clients. However, VA facilities also accept federal military insurance.
Published on March 2019
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