The military is an insular organization. Historically known for “taking care of its own”, veterans usually depend on the VA for anything health related. However, as the prevalence of substance abuse and mental health issues continues to rise within the ranks, more vets are turning to outside resources for help; especially behavioral health help. In this blog we’ll compare the advantages of VA addiction treatment versus private treatment.
VA Treatment Programs
Designed specifically for veterans who are struggling with behavioral health issues like substance abuse, the VA has military only inpatient programs. They are usually located within VA medical centers across the country and are accessible to those vets who qualify. Here’s what the VA has to offer:
Specialized Care: For those who have experienced combat and its ensuing trauma or those struggling with PTSD as a result of war, a tailored approach may be necessary. The VA is equipped to provide specialized care to vets who need it and are seeking recovery.
Low or No Cost: Typically VA treatment comes at little or no cost to the veteran. Coverage is part of their benefit package. This can be the difference between getting help and continued suffering for many veterans.
Comprehensive Support: Veterans treating veterans offers a level of support and accountability necessary for healing. Involved in VA treatment is medical care, individual and group therapy, and family counseling.
The Private Treatment Option
While the VA has a lot to offer to the veterans in need, private treatment programs are moving to displace the VA as the primary treatment provider for veterans in need. Here are some things to consider when contemplating the private option:
Accessibility & Anonymity: There are 1,321 VA health care facilities and 172 VA medical centers in the country. Compare that to the over 16,000 substance abuse treatment facilities in the US as of 2020. With most governmental organizations, processes are often labored and waitlists exist for treatment help. Private treatment options are important for those veterans who are in need now. Vets may also desire a different treatment setting than a VA hospital or may not qualify for VA programs. Private treatment programs provide the same level of care without the hurdles. They also offer discreet and private treatment. The military has a zero tolerance policy on substance abuse and many vets die each year from the disease of addiction because they were concerned about seeking help and having their careers ruined. Your identity and treatment are protected while in private treatment.
Expedited Admission: Most private treatment programs can facilitate admissions within 24 to 48 hours after calling. The VA admissions process takes an inordinate amount of time - especially if the person is in crisis. Not all veterans have the luxury of time to wait.
Specialized Services: Many private treatment centers have specialized veteran programs. These programs are designed specifically for veterans, often staffed by veterans, and tailored to treat the unique needs of military members. Trauma informed treatment, co-occurring disorders, and a veterans substance abuse treatment are all parts of veterans programs. Vets don’t have to go to the VA to get treated by people that understand their situation.
Insurance: Many private treatment facilities are in-network with the VA health insurance system. For those that are, the VA will typically provide coverage for any vet’s entire stay costing the veteran nothing. For those that do not qualify for VA insurance, but have secondary insurance policies, most private options will be able to accept that insurance to offset the cost of treatment.
While the VA has been the default behavioral health provider, it’s important to consider the private options. Over the last 10 years, treatment programs have worked hard to develop veteran treatment programs that are on par and better than what vets can expect from the VA. If you’re a veteran looking for treatment, call Owl’s Nest Recovery today and ask about our veterans program. We’re here to serve you.