Health and Science
Mon June 25, 2012
Wisconsin VA hospitals to hire more mental health workers
Two months ago the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced it would hire more mental health workers. States are now finding out how many positions they'll get in order to deal with a backlog of mental health cases.
Wisconsin has three VA hospitals. They're in Tomah, Milwaukee and Madison. At the Madison location, they have 150 mental health clinicians and support staff to treat 40,000 veterans. VA spokesman Tim Donovan says the Madison VA hospital will get five new positions, “This won't be happening overnight; some of positions might be difficult to fill but recruiting is just getting underway and these positions will be filled as soon as they can”
The five new positions include a neuropsychologist who can treat vets who have dementia and brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries have been a signature wound from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Access and quality of care were issues addressed in a federal appeals court ruling last year. That ruling demanded the VA offer better mental health care for veterans: “There have been lots of new veterans coming into our system as the wars in Iraq ended and Afghanistan continues and members coming off active duty enter the roles of America's veterans and may come to use for mental health services.”
In April, the Department of Veterans Affairs said it would hire 1,900 mental health workers nationwide.