Health Care:

Brockton Substance Abuse

HEHS-95-172R: Published: Jun 2, 1995. Publicly Released: Jun 2, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional staff request, GAO provided information on substance abuse treatment services at the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) Brockton, Massachusetts, medical center (VAMC), focusing on: (1) the types of services provided to veterans; and (2) how veterans are using these services. GAO noted that: (1) Brockton's extensive drug abuse program provides inpatient and outpatient detoxification and rehabilitation services, counseling, training for psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers, and research activities; (2) Brockton spent about $4.5 million on its drug abuse program and served over 1,200 veterans in the first half of fiscal year 1994; (3) Brockton provides individual and group therapy and residential programs for veterans and therapy and drug abuse education to veterans' families; (4) Brockton provides full medical and surgical services to veterans through another nearby VAMC; (5) Brockton staff could not provide information on patient outcomes because they do not analyze program performance data; (6) about 71 percent of admitted veterans complete the detoxification regimen and 89 percent complete the rehabilitation regimen; (7) some veterans repeatedly use the center's detoxification program, but they do not successfully complete prescribed program regimens; (8) Brockton has made extensive program changes without sufficient performance data; and (9) Brockton has established an evaluation committee to assess its programs' performance and will eventually develop more detailed information on the effects of treatment over time.

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