GAO Report Finds Rural Veterans Face Challenges Accessing SUD Treatment

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) examined trends in the number of and expenditures for veterans receiving substance use disorder (SUD) services, including specialty SUD services, differences in use of services between rural and urban veterans, and the issues affecting access to those services in rural areas.  The GAO found little difference between rural and urban veterans in the use of SUD services overall; however, there were differences in the use of and access to specialty services, such as intensive outpatient services, residential rehabilitation treatment programs, and medication assisted treatment.  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is taking steps to improve rural access issues by addressing provider shortages, transportation, availability of telehealth, and access to prescription drugs.  Click here to access the report.