Walla Walla VA Medical Center gets health professional - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Walla Walla VA Medical Center gets health professional

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WALLA WALLA, Wash.—About a month ago Veteran Affair hospitals across the country were awarded mental health staff, but the Walla Walla VA Medical Center is just learning how many personnel they will be receiving.

A Walla Walla VA Medical Center representative says they will be getting at least one mental health professional.  This person will provide counseling.  There is a chance the VA could receive more.  If they do, they would add support staff that would assist current providers.

"Right now we're doing fairly well in terms of mental health.  We do have some delays in getting a patient in within 14 days of their desired date, so we do have a little bit of a delay in seeing the patients when they'd like," says Brian Westfield, Walla Walla VA Medical Center Director.

About 1,600 mental health staff will be placed throughout the country.  Funds are coming from the current mental health budget, which has been increased by 39% since 2009.

Currently there are more than 20,000 VA mental health personnel nationwide.

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