Community Care through the VA and American Addiction Centers

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If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction or a co-occurring disorder, there are many ways to get help. Veterans commonly suffer from substance use disorder, particularly alcohol addiction. It’s also common for Veterans to suffer from mental health disorders such as PTSD or depression at the same time as addiction.1 dual diagnosis In a study examining the prevalence of addiction among Veterans, almost 80% reported problematic drinking, and about 90% suffered from co-occurring disorders.1 specific substances + dual diagnosis

Special programs that address unique experiences and challenges many Veterans face can be particularly beneficial to promoting long-term recovery and preventing relapse. American Addiction Centers (AAC) is dedicated to providing widespread access to top-quality addiction care. As a Community Care Partner with the Veterans Affairs Community Care Network (CCN), we work together to assist Veterans in receiving the help they need to succeed on the journey to recovery.

Our Salute to Recovery Program is an excellent option for Veterans as it’s specially designed to fit their unique needs with evidence-based care and individualized treatment plans.

What is the VA Community Care Program Network?

The VA Community Care Network offers essential care to Veterans when the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) cannot meet their healthcare needs or location requirements.2 They are a system of community-based facilities and healthcare providers that provide a broader range of services than many local VAs, including addiction care and mental health treatment for co-occurring disorders.

What are the CCN Regional Networks?

The VA CCN has 6 regional networks that serve as direct contracts for the VA. They enable the VA to purchase appropriate care from community providers for Veterans if the VA cannot provide the best care. VA Community Care will eventually be the preferred network to purchase community care for Veterans.2

Who Qualifies for the Veterans Community Care Program?

The VA CCN has reduced errors and problems with access to care by streamlining the process of scheduling appointments, receiving treatment, and handling billing and payments. Eligibility requirements are meant to expand access to community care for Veterans, ensuring convenience, more options for quality services, and better customer service. To qualify for the VA Community Care program, you must be already enrolled in VA healthcare and meet 1 of the 6 eligibility requirements:3 eligibility criteria

  • The service you need isn’t provided at a VA facility.
  • The state or territory you reside in doesn’t have a full-service VA healthcare facility.
  • You qualify for the “grandfather” provision, and the closest VA facility is at least 40 miles away from your location.
  • The VA cannot provide proper care based on your location or time frame.
  • A clinician believes a referral to a different VA facility is in your best interest.
  • The quality of care or services at your VA facility does not meet the standard.

A VA staff member can help you determine if you’re eligible for VA Community Care.

How does Community Care Work?

If your local VA cannot provide the care you need based on location or other specific necessities, you can seek care through approved VA Community Care providers. After you receive approval through the VA, you can access different VA Community Care program providers that may be a better fit for you.

With substance abuse treatment, in particular, no one treatment will not work for all.4 points to remember Different facilities may provide services that fit your unique needs but are not originally offered to you through the VA. VA Community Care allows you to access specialized options for substance abuse treatment tailored to Veterans, such as the Salute to Recovery program. You’ll be able to receive coverage for a variety of care options like medical detox, inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab, behavioral interventions, and addiction aftercare.

How much does Community Care Cost?

The cost of VA Community Care varies depending on the provider you choose, your specific needs, and the services you require. The first step to avoid being billed for services is to receive approval from the VA to participate in Community Care.

Once you receive approval, you’ll be assigned to 1 of 8 priority groups depending on your income level, disability rating, and special eligibility factors. Your priority group determines your copayment rates and coverage for different healthcare services like inpatient, outpatient, urgent care, and medications.5 copayments

Some medical services, such as mental health care and re-adjustment counseling, are available for eligible Veterans without a copay, despite your priority group. Coverage has also been expanded for specialized programs like AAC’s Salute to Recovery program by the VA MISSION Act.6

Difference Between Veterans Community Care Program Compare and Veterans Choice Program

The Veterans Choice Program was initiated in the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014. It originally provided more access to community-based care to Veterans for substance use treatment and other healthcare services.7

In 2018, VA Choice was replaced with the Veterans Community Care Program, which offers the same services but further expands the eligibility criteria and medical standards, better meeting location needs, medical standards, and personal circumstances.6

What are the Benefits of VA Community Care Program Network?

The VA Community Care Program is extremely beneficial for both healthcare providers and Veterans nationwide. Improvements in VA CNN offer access to a larger network of high-quality treatment providers as well as more efficient processes for getting care.

As a VA CNN partner, providers can widen their drug and alcohol treatment available to provide services for Veterans, making targeted care options available to address Veterans’ specific needs. Participating in the VA Community Care Network also makes it easier for Veterans and their families to receive prior authorization from the VA.

What Type of Treatment is offered for Veterans?

Addiction treatment programs tailored towards the unique needs of Veterans use a variety of targeted evidence-based treatments to precisely address substance abuse and promote long-term recovery. Different methods and approaches that may be incorporated into your treatment include:

  • Medical detox: Detox is the first step in recovery for many. When someone stops using drugs or alcohol, their body must detox or eliminate the harmful substances. During detox, certain medications are often administered by healthcare professionals to curb cravings and help with withdrawals.4 How are behavioral therapies used to treat drug addiction?
  • Individual, group, and family therapy: Therapy helps patients change their behaviors and attitudes to develop healthy coping skills and rebuild important relationships. Behavioral interventions like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational therapies, group therapy, and family therapy, are commonly combined with pharmacological treatment methods to fight addiction.4 How are behavioral therapies used to treat drug addiction?
  • Relapse prevention skills: Relapse prevention skills are essential to promoting long-term recovery. Patients learn to identify high-risk situations and improve their coping skills through increasing self-efficacy, changing perspectives on relapse, understanding their addiction triggers, and incorporating these strategies into their daily routines.8 Summary and Conclusions
  • Life skills: Adopting healthy life skills, like self-care, routines, and stress management strategies are particularly beneficial to prevent relapse and promote long-term recovery.
  • Wellness activities and holistic therapies: Some programs offer spa-like environments to promote relaxation and allow patients to de-stress and focus on recovery. Holistic therapies concentrate on the person as a whole and provide physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional support. They commonly include exclusive treatment and amenities like alternative therapies, recreation programs, and fitness centers.

The Salute to Recovery program further incorporates the First Responder and Military Lifeline curriculum to target co-occurring disorders common among Veterans.1 dual diagnosis Created by AAC and Employment Assistance Professionals, the curriculum covers topics significant to Veterans’ experiences, such as:

  • Post-traumatic stress.
  • First responder and military culture.
  • Unique needs of Veterans in recovery.
  • Hypervigilance.

The program also provides the chance for Veterans to rebuild important relationships and restore a sense of community outside of the military. Couples counseling, family therapy, conflict resolution, and communication skills are often included in these programs.

In AAC’s Salute to Recovery program, Veterans receive peer support through the “battalion.” Members on similar paths with similar life experiences go through treatment together, offering encouragement and holding each other accountable, both during treatment and often for a lifetime.

How do I Find a VA Community Care Network Provider?

If you’re ready to seek help for your addiction and are interested in finding care through a VA CCN provider, the first step is making an appointment at your local VA to receive prior authorization. Once you’ve received approval, you can search for a provider through the Veteran Affair’s location finder.

After you choose a provider, schedule an appointment and notify the VA. The VA will send a referral to you and the provider. If you want to learn more about how to receive care with a VA Community Care provider, reach out to the VA directly.

As a Community Care provider and VA partner, AAC can assist you with finding the best treatment. We offer high-quality addiction care to Veterans nationwide and are happy to help you on your journey to recovery.

Will my insurance pay for treatment?
  • We’ll instantly check the coverage offered by your insurance provider.
  • You may receive treatment at one of our facilities at a reduced rate.
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