I am a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) student at Arizona State University.  I will graduate in May, 2016 as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and hope to work in Community Mental Health treating adults, children and adolescents with mental illness.  This blog will explore the health policy topic of Veterans’ Access to Mental Health Care through a discussion of the challenges facing veterans with mental health issues, as well as the ways that Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) can increase the accessiblity of mental health treatment.


Healthcare Financing & Sustaining Innovation

Authorizing full practice authority for advanced practice nurses would be a fiscally responsible legislative decision for the VA.  According to http://www.glassdoor.com, psychiatrists at the VA range from $167,194 to $234,269, while psychiatric nurse practitioners at the VA are paid $97,150 to $106,366 per year.  If nurse practitioners within the system were allowed to practice to … Continue reading

Innovation & Research within the VA

In response to the many challenges brought about by the dual-generation wave of veterans who require health care services, the VA has embraced innovation in mental health care.  The VA Center for Innovation (VACI) was established in 2010 and established a multi-strategy approach to innovation within the VA system.  Additionally, the VA Office of Research … Continue reading

Private Sector Innovation & Policy Advancements

Several private sector innovations, including telemedicine, online self-management programs, and mobile technology applications have great potential to help veterans with mental illness. Telemental health (TMH), telemedicine, telehealth, or telepsych refers to mental health treatment provided from a distance using technology to connect the healthcare provider and patient.  Telemedicine may incorporate a range of technological applications, … Continue reading

Public Sector Institutions and VA Policies

Policy for the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is guided by three entities of the federal government:  the U.S. House of Representatives Veterans Affairs Committee, the U.S. Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and the US Veterans Affairs Office of Policy and Planning. U.S. Congress Veterans Affairs Committees The House of Representatives … Continue reading

The History & Contemporary Role of the VA

Historical and Contemporary Role of the Veterans Health Administration The origins of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can be traced to the Pilgrims of the Plymouth Colony, who in 1636 passed a law that provided support for disabled soldiers.  The Revolutionary War provided the backdrop for the Continental Congress of 1776 to pass legislation … Continue reading

Ethical Issues

Promise to Veterans The Veteran’s Health Administration mission statement is to fulfill President Lincoln’s promise “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan” by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s Veterans. (http://www.va.gov/about_va/mission.asp)  Although the core values of the VA include integrity, commitment, … Continue reading

Week 1: Introduction

The Problem: Each day, 22 Veterans Die from Suicide The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have created a large number of young combat veterans with complex physical and mental health needs at the same time the veterans from World War II, the Korean Conflict and the Viet Nam War are experiencing health problems associated with advanced … Continue reading