West Texas VA Health Care System - Substance Abuse Treatment Program Philosophy
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ABOUT WEST TEXAS VA HEALTH CARE SYSTEM -- SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT PROGRAM
West Texas VA Health Care System (WTVAHCS) - Substance Abuse Treatment Program (SATP), serves U.S. military veterans primarily through outpatient programming and telehealth care. The VA’s main campus in Big Springs also maintains a domiciliary program, offering long-term dual diagnosis residential treatment. WTVA is one of the 13.9 percent of Texas drug and alcohol treatment facilities to provide buprenorphine through medication-assisted therapy and the 20.9 percent to provide specialized treatment for veterans.
TREATMENT & ASSESSMENT
West Texas VA Health Care System’s Substance Abuse Treatment Program follows an evidence-based recovery model, beginning with medical and psychological assessment. Veterans enrolled in a standard or intensive outpatient program (IOP) participate in individual and group counseling sessions, which utilize motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), according to the facility’s website.
Veterans also struggling with a number of co-occurring mental health disorders, physical conditions, or other challenges, including homelessness, may participate in the WTVAHCS Domiciliary Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program (DRRTP). Programming features 12-step facilitation and skills training, and veterans may participate for up to 120 days. Following completion of the program, clients are encouraged to continue aftercare treatment through the VA’s SATP.
According to job postings on the VA West Texas official Facebook page, the Substance Abuse Treatment Program employs psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, RN’s, NP's, and licensed professional mental health counselors.
The majority of treatment for individuals struggling with substance use disorders is provided through outpatient clinics in West Texas, including the Veteran Healing Center in Big Spring. The center, which includes an on-site fitness center and unity garden, also houses West Texas VA Health Care System’s 40-bed domiciliary program. Residents have access to medical and dental care as well as a compensated work therapy program.
Rehabs.com has not yet received any reviews from this facility’s alumni, affiliated friends or family members, or staff. However, on both Google and the West Texas VA Health Care System’s official Facebook page, the facility had a rating of 3.6 out of five stars.  On Google, 30 individuals contributed feedback for the general medical center and on Facebook, the opinions of 129 were incorporated. Note that facility staff may monitor official Facebook pages.
Written comments typically praised the staff, although several reported problems with understaffing and high turnover. Alumni and loved ones described employees as kind, effective, professional, and “excellent.” By contrast, a minority set of reviewers cited inattentive, unknowledgeable staff. The most frequent complaints were of poor communication and long wait times for service. Several, including alumni with overall positive experiences, reported difficulty accessing a VA staff member on the phone.
In a representative Facebook review, C.L. wrote: “To get good Medical Care at the Big Spring VA, one must Ask and keep Asking,” while another alum, E.B., wrote: “Very nice, been improved over the years. Staff was friendly and prompt.”
Most of eight former and current employees who worked with the VA health center at Big Springs indicated in reviews on Indeed that they respected their clients and felt honored to work with veterans.
VA patients are encouraged to maintain private insurance and remaining costs for mental health care services are covered for eligible veterans.
The Abilene Reporter News interviewed WTVAHCS leaders in October 2018, who said that the facility was working on improvements in mental health care, including increased staffing. The West Texas facility had received a minimum one-star rating by the VA for three years in a row.
Published on February 2019
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