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AVAPL is dedicated to advocating for the nation's veterans and for the psychologists who work with them. This site is the source for information about AVAPL's advocacy efforts.
To contact your elected member of the U.S. House of Representatives, click here.
To contact your elected member of the U.S. Senate, click here.

Lincoln Quotaton Regarding Veteran CarePreserving VA as an Integrated Health Care System

New!Russell B. Lemle, PhD, Megan McCarthy, PhD: Veterans Will Benefit If the VA Includes Telehealth in its Access Standards

New!American Psychological Association, Association of VA Psychologist Leaders, Association of VA Social Workers, Association of Veterans Affairs Nurse Anesthetists, Military and Veterans Committee of the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry, National Association of Veterans Affairs Optometrists, National Association of Veterans Affairs Physicians and Dentists, Nurses Organization of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Affairs Physician Assistant Association, Veterans Healthcare Policy Institute: Multiorganizational Statement for the Record for the SVAC July 12, 2023, Full Committee Hearing to Consider Pending Legislation.

Veterans Healthcare Policy Institute and American Psychological Association Services: The SHOW UP Act Threatens VA Telehealth

The American Prospect: VA Research Verges on Breakdown Without Congressional Action

American Psychological Association, Association of VA Psychologist Leaders, Association of VA Social Workers, Nurses Organization of Veterans Affairs Veterans Healthcare Policy Institute: Veteran Suicide Prevention: Capitalizing on What Works and Increasing Innovative Approaches

AVAPL provides comment on proposed "Schedule for Rating Disabilities: Mental Health."

VA recently proposed a new “Schedule for Rating Disabilities: Mental Disorders”, which would (1) update the VASRD to reflect changes in the DSM-V; (2) create a global rating for disability caused by all mental health condition, rather than separate ratings for depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc.; and (3) eliminating the noncompensable rating and assigning a minimum rating for 10 percent. AVAPL is excited for these changes to take effect, and we believe they will increase access to VA care and make the rating process easier for C&P raters. There is a section of the proposed rule that we pushed back on, because we believe it could be detrimental to Veterans with serious mental illness, PTSD, and substance use disorder. The proposed rule would require C&P raters to take into consideration the “ameliorative effects of medication” on Veterans with a mental health condition. While many Veterans with mental health conditions live full and productive lives with the assistance of medications, there are very high rates of treatment non-compliance and lower workforce participation that make this proposed change detrimental to the healing process for these Veterans. We encourage VA to take into account the severity of a Veteran’s mental health condition while not medicated as well, in order to ensure that Veterans are still receiving adequate benefits when they are at their most vulnerable.

Click here to read the full comment submitted by AVAPL President Kaki York-Ward, PhD.

AVAPL President provides testimony to Congress.

On October 13, AVAPL President Kaki York-Ward, PhD provided compelling testimony to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Health Subcommittee for their legislative hearing. Dr. York-Ward’s testimony highlighted the importance of VA mental health research and the excellent work that VA psychologists are doing in that field. Dr. York-Ward’s testimony also touched on the critical community-based services that VA supports that help prevent veteran suicide and improve access to mental health care, including VA’s VITAL program, the Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Veteran Suicide, and the Veteran Justice Outreach program. Dr. York-Ward’s written statement can be found here.
Dr. York-Ward expertly answered questions from Chairwoman Julia Brownley and Acting Ranking Member Mariannette Miller-Meeks. Both congresswomen were very engaged and appreciated Dr. York-Ward’s subject-matter expertise. A link to Dr. York-Ward’s opening statement and responses to the congresswomen can be found here.
Dr. York-Ward’s live testimony is a follow up on written testimony that AVAPL provided to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hearing titled “Veteran Suicide Prevention: Innovative Research and Expanded Public Health Efforts”. AVAPL’s written testimony to that September 20 hearing can be found here.

JAMA: Assessment of Changes in US Veterans Health Administration Care Delivery Methods During the COVID-19 Pandemic

AVAPL Community Care Survey.

September 2021
In June 2021, the AVAPL Executive Committee circulated a survey that asked AVAPL members who interface with non-VA providers to voluntarily provide their impressions of the Community Care program.
The results of the 36 respondents are attached. (FYI, the Nurses Organization of Veterans Affairs just conducted a similar survey. Their results can be found at https://www.vanurse.org/news/581288/NOVA-Community-Care-Survey-Results-Show-Improvements-Needed.htm
Among the key highlights of AVAPL survey, between 79 and 100 percent of respondents who interface with the Community Care Program:

  • feel that there were clinical practices by community providers that were questionable.
  • believe that specified recommendations for the type of psychotherapy and issues needing to be addressed in referrals to Community Care were often not adhered to.
  • feel that Community Care providers don’t send progress measurements, treatment plan updates or chart records when requesting additional psychotherapy sessions.believe that their VA facility was not generally supplied data about outcomes when veterans were referred to residential program.

Veterans Healthcare Policy Institute: Asset and Infrastructure Review Criteria Comments

Stanford University: Is There a VA Advantage? Evidence from Dually Eligible Veterans

Veterans Healthcare Policy Institute: Creating Effective Solutions, Programs, and Policies to Improve Veterans’ Mental Health Care

The HIll: VA hospitals still an excellent choice for veterans

AVAPL: Position Brief on PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Peer Support Program Act (H.R. 1749)

AVAPL: Critique of S. 785 Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019

AVAPL: Position Paper on Proposed Legislation on Posttraumatic Growth

Veterans Healthcare Policy Institute, American Psychological Association, AVAPL, Association of VA Social Workers, Nurses Organization of Veterans Affairs: Analysis of Improve Well-Being for Veterans Act

JAMA: Implications for Veterans’ Health CareThe Danger Becomes Clearer

JAMA: Association Between Dual Use of Department of Veterans Affairs and Medicare Part D Drug Benefits and Potentially Unsafe Prescribing

Veterans Healthcare Policy Institute: The Harm to Veterans, the Medical Profession and the Community if Asset and Infrastructure Review Commission Recommendations Lead to Closure of a VA Facility

Comparison of Current VHA, TriWest, Optum and Proposed MISSION Act Section 133 Provider Competence Standards for EBP Treatment of Veterans with PTSD

American College of Physicians: ACP Steps Up Efforts to Protect Veterans' Health Care

The American Prospect: Putting Veterans at Risk

Multiple Organizations: Public Comment--Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Proposed Rule to Create New Regulations to Define and Implement the Veterans Community Care Program (VCCP)

The American Prospect: The VA Is Privatizing Veterans’ Health Care While Launching a Campaign to Deny It

The Veterans Healthcare Action Campaign, Association of VA Psychologist Leaders, Association of VA Social Workers, Nurses Organization of Veterans Affairs: Public Comment On The Access to Walk In Care Provision of the VA MISSION Act 2018

Center for a New American Security: Congress Should Vigorously Oversee Implementation of the Mission Act

Veterans Healthcare Policy Institute: Double Standards: Credentials, Training and Competence of Community PTSD Providers Are Less Than Those For Veterans Health Administration Providers

JAMA Network: Comparison of Wait Times for New Patients Between the Private Sector and United States Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers


Click here to access an archive of previous articles and links related to the preservation the VA health care system.

U.S.CapitolCommentary on Proposed Legislation

Suzanne Gordon: "Say Never to the 'Never Again Act'"

"Never Again Act": Click here to view the policy brief from AVAPL and APA on the "Never Again Act."

Paper dolls image Title 38 for Psychologists

New!The Quest for Title 38 by VA Psychologists: A PowerPoint presentation outlining the major issues about Title 38 for psychologists.

Title 38 White Paper

Click here to view the revised version of the Title 38 White Paper, developed by the AVAPL Executive Committee.


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