Mental Health Productivity Monitoring in the Veterans Health Administration: Challenges and Lessons Learned
Achieving quality outcomes and cost efficiency within mental health are overarching objectives of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). The mental health care workforce has long been oriented toward the goal of high quality outcomes; however, cost efficiency has only recently been elevated into this important value equation. With increased demand for access to mental health services within the VHA, leadership sought to advance methods of determining and improving mental health provider productivity. Monitoring of productivity data may also provide data signaling the potential need for additional staffing to keep up with demand for services. This article outlines VHA’s development and specification of mental health productivity policy, implementation strategies, and a discussion of challenges and lessons learned for other systems to consider in implementing productivity monitoring.