Marcari Russotto Spencer Balaban, Donald Marcari, MRSB Law Firm
VA, Veterans, Vets

VA Planning to Open 3 New Vet Centers and 6 Satellite Centers!

Eligible Veterans in various regions, including parts of Arizona, California, Minnesota, and others, are set to benefit from expanded access to professional counseling services in the coming year, as announced by officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The VA is planning to establish three new facilities, known as Vet Centers, to offer both therapy and readjustment counseling. 

These centers are scheduled to open in Sierra Vista, Arizona; Solano County, California; and St. Cloud, Minnesota, in early 2024.

Additionally, six satellite stations will either be established or expanded into full-service Vet Centers. 

These satellite locations will be in Vineland, New Jersey; Clarksville, Tennessee; Fredericksburg and Leesburg, Virginia; the U.S. Virgin Islands; and the Northern Mariana Islands, which is a U.S. commonwealth.

Vet Centers provide a range of services, including counseling for military-related issues, trauma, bereavement, and readjustment. 

They also offer substance abuse assessments, referrals, and screenings for mental health conditions to Veterans who meet the eligibility criteria.

According to Michael Fisher, the chief readjustment counseling officer for the Vet Centers at the Veterans Health Administration, these new and expanded locations were strategically selected to meet the anticipated needs of Veterans transitioning out of the military, relocating, or seeking assistance. 

While the exact number of individuals to be served by these facilities remains unspecified, it is worth noting that in fiscal year 2023, approximately 115,000 Veterans, active-duty service members, and family members received counseling services at the 300 Vet Centers nationwide.

Fisher emphasized the significance of extending outreach to these communities to enhance access to essential services. 

The Vet Centers, along with 83 mobile clinics, will offer non-medical counseling, therapy, and support services to active-duty personnel, Veterans, and their families.

It is important to note that the eligibility criteria for receiving assistance at a Vet Center differ from those for accessing VA health care. 

To be eligible for services at a Vet Center, active-duty troops or Veterans must have:

• Deployed to a combat theater or hostile region

• Provided mortuary services or medical care to casualties

• Experienced sexual assault while on active duty

• Served on an unmanned aerial vehicle team performing combat operations

• Responded to a national emergency or disaster as declared by the president

• Conducted drug interdictions as a member of the Coast Guard

• Served as a drilling reservist with a military-related mental health condition

• Be receiving educational assistance benefits from the VA and require readjustment counseling.

Vet Centers were initially established in 1979 to provide support to Vietnam War Veterans and will operate with a budget of $353 million in fiscal year 2024.

Dr. Shereef Elnahal, VA Under Secretary for Health, highlighted the importance of Vet Centers in delivering high-quality counseling, community engagement, and referral services in comfortable and nearby environments.

Services provided at Vet Centers are confidential, with information released to other organizations, including VA medical centers, only with the Veteran’s permission, except in cases where there is a perceived threat to the individual or others.

A Government Accountability Office report from the previous year revealed that the most sought-after service at Vet Centers in fiscal year 2021 was counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), accounting for 73% of all counseling needs, followed by marital counseling at 26%.


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