VA Salt Lake City Health Care System in Salt Lake City, UT

Overall Rating

(4.7 of 5)
Treatment Effectiveness
Accommodations & Amenities
Meals & Nutrition
500 South Foothill Drive
Salt Lake City UT 84148

VA Salt Lake City Health Care System Philosophy

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Review by Contributors


Veterans Association (VA) Salt Lake City Health Care System, located in Salt Lake City, UT, offers a residential and outpatient substance use disorder program for adult service members and veterans. The VA consists of the George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center which houses 121 beds and is a teaching facility that provides a full range of patient care services, including substance use services. There are also several Community Based Outpatient Clinics throughout Utah, Idaho, and Nevada’s intermountain region. The mission of the VA is “to serve the veteran who served us” and their five core values include integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect, and excellence. The facility is also affiliated with the University of Utah School of Medicine.


In order to be admitted for treatment, Veterans will first receive a screening for alcohol or substance use. Treatment may consist of short outpatient counseling to focus on motivation, more intensive outpatient treatment (IOP), medically managed detoxification for stabilization, or residential (live-in) care for those in need of a more structured treatment approach. Other services include self-help groups, marriage and family counseling, and continued care/relapse prevention following treatment.

The facility’s treatment program utilizes evidence-based (meaning backed by research) psychotherapy, also known as “talk therapy.” Throughout treatment, clients may receive Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Substance Use Disorders (CBT-SUD) and/or Motivational Interviewing (MI) and Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET).

Participants in need may receive medication to help treat addiction to opioid drugs such as heroin, oxycodone, or other pain killers. Medication may include methadone (especially effective for those with chronic opioid addiction, clients must participate in a special methadone program) or buprenorphine/naltrexone to help ease withdrawal symptoms.


There is currently no information provided by the facility regarding its treatment staff. However, one alum polled by at the time of this writing reported that the staff are all experienced and well trained and commented that the counselors were great.


“There is currently no information provided by the facility regarding its living arrangements and related offerings, other than the 121 bed capacity of the VA facility in general. However, one Alum polled by at the time of this writing gave four out of five stars for the facility’s accommodations & amenities and five stars for meals & nutrition; he also felt the facility was very clean and well maintained.


At the time of this writing there has been one alum polled by The anonymous male alum gave the facility a very positive review. He gave the facility five out of five stars for treatment effectiveness, four stars for accommodations & amenities, and five stars for meals & nutrition. The alum strongly agreed that the facility was clean and well maintained; that the treatment plan was affordable and/or payment plans, scholarships, or financial assistance were made available; and that family and loved ones were able to participate in treatment through facility programming.

The respondent was neutral when asked if there were many counseling options to choose from depending on the client’s preference but did strongly agree that the facility staff were experienced and well-trained. In fact, he felt that a strength of the facility was the counseling staff but also felt that the program should have lasted longer. The alum also added that “It is ran by the Veterans Hospital and you have to be a Veteran to attend. The counselors are well trained in their field.” Overall, he strongly agreed that he would recommend this facility to a friend or loved one who was considering rehab

On the facility’s Facebook page, which it can manage, there is an overall rating of 3.9 out of five stars based on 332 total reviews of the VA facility overall.[1] One reviewer, C.E., who gave five stars, spoke highly of the facility overall. He wrote “One of the top ten VA facilities nationally in my opinion. Want to be fair in rating them, as I have been treated very well here for medical appointments thus far. I have seen a couple of others, but Salt Lake City's VA is very impressive. Yes, lots of negative light on the VA and in most cases, it is definitely warranted. For this location, I feel it is not.” B.Q., a family member of a veteran, did not agree with C.E.’s opinion on the facility. She gave one star and wrote “Some of the staff are very rude. I am not impressed. Wait times are way too long. These veterans deaerve better treatment and respect from staff. People drive a long distance just to sit at the hospital waiting all day for an appointment and a lot of the times are asked to reschedule.”

On Google, the facility has an overall score of 2.7 out of five stars, based on 19 reviews, with the majority of reviewers leaving negative comments especially regarding appointment issues and cancellations.[2] However, several other reviewers did speak positively of the staff at the facility.

There is currently no information provided by the facility regarding its costs, although it can be assumed that the treatment is offered free to Veterans, as are all VA services.


Published on July 2017

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  • Accommodations & Amenities
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Has great counselors. Not long enough. It is ran by the Veterans Hospital and you have to be a Veteran to attend. The counselors are well trained in their field.

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