To better serve the mental health needs of Veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs is launching a new Mental Health Outpatient Clinic at the VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System in Reno, Nev. The dedication ceremony is scheduled for today.
“VA is continuing to elevate its service to our Veterans by becoming the twenty-first century standard of excellence in health care and focusing on Veteran-centric care, particularly in the critical area of mental health. I fully anticipate that this new mental health outpatient clinic in Reno will provide the world class care that our Veterans in Northern Nevada and Northern California deserve and have to come to expect,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki.
This brand new, state-of-the art, 15,500 square foot facility is one of the first of its kind to be designed around the patient centric model that incorporates a natural, open healing environment with leveraged technological advances to make it more energy efficient. The facility offers 40 brand new clinical spaces for one-on-one counseling and three larger multi-purpose rooms to facilitate group therapy sessions. The building itself was designed to be open and flowing and less institutional, while utilizing natural light. As part of a “green” resource-management strategy, the building’s heating and ventilation system will automatically shut down when the facility is not occupied.
“This new building goes a long way toward improving access to care for our Nation’s heroes while enhancing Veteran-centered care and reducing the government’s carbon footprint,” said Under Secretary for Health, Dr. Robert A. Petzel.
This facility is part of VA’s overall mental health program. Last year, VA provided quality, specialty mental health services to 1.3 million Veterans. Since 2009, VA has increased the mental health care budget by 39 percent. Since 2007, VA has seen a 35 percent increase in the number of Veterans receiving mental health services, and a 41 percent increase in mental health staff.
In April, as part of an ongoing review of mental health operations, Secretary Shinseki announced VA would add approximately 1,600 mental health clinicians as well as nearly 300 support staff to its existing workforce of 20,590 mental health staff to help meet the increased demand for mental health services.
VA operates the Nation’s largest integrated health care system. With a health care budget of more than $50 billion, VA expects to provide care to 6.1 million patients during 920,000 hospitalizations and nearly 80 million outpatient visits this year. VA’s health care network includes 152 major medical centers and more than 800 community-based outpatient clinics.