HOUSTON – The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) was recently awarded a three-year accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) for its Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans Program.
CARF is a private, not-for-profit organization that grew out of a need in the medical and vocational rehabilitation fields to promote quality programs for people with disabilities and others in need of services. CARF is committed to developing and maintaining practical, customer-focused standards to help organizations measure and improve the quality, value, and optimal outcomes in the lives of the persons they serve.
A three-year accreditation is the highest level of accreditation an organization may be awarded. This is the first time that the newly created Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans Program has received CARF accreditation.
The CARF reviewers commented that the Houston Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans Program stands out among the many different programs, VA and otherwise, they have reviewed. In particular, they noted the staff’s dedication to the Veterans and the clinical mission was palpable.
“We have a real sense of pride and accomplishment in achieving CARF accreditation,” said Anthony Morris, L.C.S.W., Domiciliary Chief. “The Domiciliary opened in 2008 and the staff has remained focused on providing outstanding mental health services to our Veterans.” He also mentioned the valuable contributions of MEDVAMC Quality Manager Mary Hardin, Ed.D., R.N., C.P.H.Q.
The mission of this short-term residential rehabilitation program is to provide an opportunity and the skills for motivated, at-risk Veterans to achieve his/her optimal level of functioning, return to independent community living, and avoid a return to homelessness. The Domiciliary recently received more than $600,000 to develop services, create a more home-like atmosphere, and enhance the recovery environment.
“With 14 apartments with kitchenettes and a 40-person dining facility, the domiciliary residence is another way for the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center to bring Veterans in need of mental health services together to reduce barriers to good psychiatric care and enhance their ability to break the cycle of homelessness,” said Morris.
“We have a dedicated, professional, energetic team working hard to meet our Veterans’ needs. I am very pleased they have received the acknowledgement they so richly deserve,” said Laura Marsh, M.D., Mental Health Care executive and listed as one of the best doctors in the field of psychiatry as determined by the medical knowledge company, Best Doctors®, Inc.
Residents in the Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans Program participate in a full range of rehabilitation services in a recovery model of care. Services include comprehensive medical and psychiatric assessments; “bio-psycho-social” treatments that include medications, psychotherapies for problems like addiction, depression, and anxiety, and social interventions such as vocational and occupational therapies; and opportunities to enhance one’s spirituality. The facility does not provide shelter-type housing; Veterans must be willing to participate in treatment activities while they are living there.
“I am very proud the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center has received such important recognition,” said Adam C. Walmus, M.H.A., M.A., F.A.C.H.E., medical center director. “Our Domiciliary Care Program and its staff are sincerely committed to the struggle against chronic homelessness among our nation’s Veterans.”
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Awarded re-designation for Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Services in 2008, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center serves as the primary health care provider for more than 130,000 Veterans in southeast Texas and provides some of the most complex care within the VA Health Care System. The DeBakey VA employs nearly 3,600 staff and is one of 49 institutions within the prestigious Texas Medical Center, one of the largest health and research centers in the world. The DeBakey VA is home to a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Clinic; Network Polytrauma Center; award-winning Cardiac and General Surgery Program; Liver Transplant Center; Epilepsy and Cancer Centers of Excellence; Substance Abuse Disorder Quality Enhancement Research Initiative; Health Services Research & Development Center of Excellence; Rehabilitation Research of Excellence focusing on mild to moderate traumatic brain injury; Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center; $26.8 million Research and Development Program; and Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Center. The hospital offers sophisticated, cutting-edge technology such as PET/CT imaging, the Evident™ microwave ablation system, a CyberKnife®, a Varian Trilogy linear accelerator, a Philips Wide Bore Computed Tomography Simulator, the OR•Control System, the Abiomed Impella 2.5 catheter-based heart pump, and the Sapien heart valve. For more than 50 years, the DeBakey VA has served as the primary teaching facility for our major affiliate, Baylor College of Medicine and operates the largest VA residency program in the nation with 270 residents. Each academic year, more than 2,179 students are trained through 194 affiliation agreements with institutions of higher learning. Including the outpatient clinics in Beaumont, Conroe, Galveston, Houston, Lufkin, Richmond, and Texas City, MEDVAMC outpatient clinics logged almost 1.3 million outpatient visits in fiscal year 2011. For the latest news releases and information about the MEDVAMC, visit www.houston.va.gov.