Posted: March 24th, 2023
|Healthcare Program/Policy Evaluation||Veterans Health Administration Mental Health Program|
|Description||Evaluation involves the collection of data to establish effectiveness (Laureate Education, 2018). The program is implemented by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to improve the provision of mental health services to veterans in the country. The department recognizes the urgent need for improved mental health care for the population because of the high number of individuals suffering from the psychological effects of the war experience and the demands of coping with life after deployment (De Luca et al., 2016). Although the program was implemented successfully, an evaluation of its success and impact is crucial.|
|How was the success of the program or policy measured?
|The success of the program was measured using a Randomized Program Evaluation Service Directed Research (SDR) project. The process used randomized samples obtained from the target population (veterans in the United States) to determine the progress of the program towards achieving its objective. The evaluation studied the impact of the program planned to meet the mental health needs of veterans under the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Program. It focused on utilization, Veteran experience, and patient outcomes. The results would provide information regarding the success of the program.|
|How many people were reached by the program or policy selected? How much of an impact was realized with the program or policy selected?
|From the randomized study conducted to evaluate the program, 856,699 veterans received care under the program in FY 2018. The data compares with over 1.7 million Veterans diagnosed with mental illness in the same year (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2019). The National Institute of Mental Health indicates that a high number of veterans are living with a mental illness. The data show that the program has a significant impact on mental health among veterans and considerably effective in supporting their treatment.|
|What data was used to conduct the program or policy evaluation?
|Data was collected centrally to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of the program. The National Patient Care Database (NPCD) provided the data for the evaluation purpose. The database included an outpatient care (OPC) file and a patient treatment file (PTF). The data collected was about patients with any of the following mental health challenges: PTSD, bipolar I disorder, schizophrenia, MDD, and SUD (West et al., 2014). The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes were used to identify patients with the diagnosis. The data were measured against the projected number of patients estimated to be treated under the program to establish whether it achieved its objective.|
|What specific information on unintended consequences were identified?
|Information was identified in the evaluation of unintended outcomes, such as the existence of co-occurrence of mental illnesses in veterans. The assessment focused on specific mental illnesses. However, during the data collection process, information emerged of individuals who suffered from more than one mental illness (Pomerantz et al., 2014). For example, some veterans with PTSD were found to have SUD. The information created a challenge in the presentation of the data because of participants who appeared in more than one category of mental illness.|
|What stakeholders were identified in the evaluation of the program or policy? Who would benefit most from the results and reporting of the program or policy evaluation? Be specific and provide examples.||One of the groups that would benefit from the results of the evaluation was the government department that implemented the program to assist veterans. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) would benefit from the information to establish whether the program is achieving its objective and any need for change to improve it. Another group that program would assist includes mental health care providers who would use the information to improve services provided to veterans. More importantly, Veterans would benefit from enhanced services following the implementation of the evaluation results.|
|Did the program or policy meet the original intent and objectives? Why or why not?
|The program achieved the original intent because it supported access to mental health services for veterans in the United States. Almost one million veterans in the country receive services for their psychological problems through the program. Although some additional aspects of the program are necessary, such as improved funding and communication to reach more veterans, the current status shows highly positive results.|
|Would you recommend implementing this program or policy in your place of work? Why or why not?||Yes, in my working place, veterans would be supported by the program if implemented appropriately. The society has hundreds of veterans who have experienced the negative impact of war, which takes a toll on their mental health. Therefore, I would advocate for the implementation of a mental health program targeted to their needs within the hospital. The program should include an adequate assessment of these individuals and the implementation of effective interventions to help them to overcome the challenges.|
|Identify at least two ways that you, as a nurse advocate, could become involved in evaluating a program or policy after one year of implementation.||Firstly, I can collect objective quantitative data from a hospital to establish the progress of the program in achieving its objectives. For example, I could collect data regarding the number of patients receiving care under the plan and measure the results against the projected number in its design. Secondly, I could collect qualitative data from the target population to understand their views regarding the efficacy of the program in meeting their needs after one year of its implementation.|
|General Notes/Comments||Program evaluation provides critical information about the progress towards achieving objectives. The review of the program targeting veterans with mental illnesses indicates considerable success in providing care to the target population. However, the results reveal a need for some changes, such as increased funding and communication to reach more veterans.
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