221007 Veterans administration mental health services availability in hurricane effected locales, 2004-2005

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ronald Olney, PhD , Center of Excellence, James A. Haley VAMC HSR&D/RR&D Research, Tampa, FL
Edward Hickling, PsyD , Center of Excellence, James A. Haley VAMC HSR&D/RR&D Research, Tampa, FL
Scott Barnett, PhD , Center of Excellence, James A. Haley VAMC HSR&D/RR&D Research, Tampa, FL
Lisa M. Brown, PhD , School of Aging Studies, College of Behavioral and Community Sciences, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Robert Campbell, JD, MPH, PhD , Center of Excellence, James A. Haley VAMC HSR&D/RR&D Research, Tampa, FL
Gustave Sison, PhD , Psychology Service, Biloxi Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Biloxi, MS
William Lapcevic, MSST, MPH , Center of Excellence, James A. Haley VAMC HSR&D/RR&D Research, Tampa, FL
Kathryn Frahm, PhD , Department of Mental Health and Aging Disparities, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Florida has one of the largest military veteran populations in the US. In response, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has established a large number of major care facilities, centers and outpatient clinics providing inpatient and outpatient services. Florida outpatient mental health services account for a large percentage of outpatient visits. During the 2004 and 2005 hurricanes seasons 5 hurricanes crossed and significantly impacted 13 Florida counties, disrupting the environment of over 650,000 VHA enrolled veterans residing in those counties. In order to understand the impact of these hurricanes on outpatient mental health services, it is first necessary to understand the location and capabilities of the existing VA mental health facilities. At the time of this study 1.69 million veterans resided in Florida, 40% (672,000) in hurricane affected counties. These veterans were older (12k < 45; 259k 45-64 years; 288k 65+ years) and 10% met VHA eligibility priority 3 or higher. Within the 13 counties there were 22 VHA facilities that provided outpatient mental health services. These facilities were built to varying hurricane standards and provided a myriad of outpatient mental health services including essential mental health services to the veteran population when the 2004 hurricane season began. In the future, a growing number of VHA mental health facilities will continue to be located in hurricane prone areas in order to serve the aging veteran population. Site locations and construction of these facilities should emphasize survivability, operational readiness and accessibility after future hurricanes in order to serve this vulnerable veteran population.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe Veterans Health Administration capabilities regarding mental health delivery within seasonal disaster prone areas. 2. Describe the VHA outpatient mental health service locations in Florida 2004-2005. 3. Describe the paths of 2004-2005 hurricanes in Florida. (3) Describe the 2004-2005 Florida veteran population.

Keywords: Veterans, Disasters

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am a psychologist with recognized expertise in mental health and disaster interaction. I have published manuscripts pertaining to the psychological impacts of hurricane disasters on providers and patients residing in the gulf states. I sit on state and national boards dealing with mental health issues.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.