Sunday, February 3, 2013

Fayetteville VA failed vets at high risk of suicide

Report says Fayetteville VA failed vets at high risk of suicide
Fayetteville Observer
By Drew Brooks
Staff writer
Feb 02, 2013

A recent government audit of the Fayetteville Veterans Affairs Medical Center shows that the VA failed to properly check on veterans considered high suicide risks after releasing them from the hospital.

The audit precedes a report released Friday that says the vast majority of veterans seeking help from the VA who attempt suicide do so within a month of a hospital visit.

The report, billed as the first comprehensive review of veteran suicides, found that an average of 22 veterans a day committed suicide in 2010.

The audit of the Fayetteville VA was prepared by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General and released Dec. 10.

It found the VA noncompliant in two areas dealing with mental health - workers failed to property follow up with patients in accordance with Veterans Health Administration policy and did not document attempts to contact patients who failed to appear for scheduled appointments.

According to the audit, nine of 10 patients who were on the high risk for suicide list did not receive sufficient follow-ups.

The VA is required to check on such patients weekly for the first month following their release, according to the review, but Fayetteville officials failed to check on the patients for the last two weeks of that period. The report released Friday by the Department of Veterans Affairs revealed that 80 percent of all suicide attempts among VA patients occur within that one-month span.
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