To spot suicidal veterans, VA turns to predictive analytics tool

With as many as 20 veterans committing suicide a day, officials expect REACH VET to root out at-risk patients so doctors can intervene immediately.
By Tom Sullivan
02:53 PM
To spot suicidal veterans, VA turns to predictive analytics tool

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has launched the Recovery Engagement And Coordination for Health Veterans Enhanced Treatment Program, also known as REACH VET, to pinpoint veterans with suicidal thoughts and intervene immediately.

Describing REACH VET as a cutting-edge predictive model, VA Secretary David Shulkin, MD, said in a statement that the program is already saving lives.

When REACH VET finds an at-risk veteran, a clinician then reaches out to review the patient’s condition, any ongoing treatments and ultimately determine if care is needed to prevent suicide.

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“Early intervention can lead to better recovery outcomes, lessen the likelihood of challenges becoming crises and reduce the stress that Veterans and their loved ones face,” said Caitlin Thompson, National Director of VA’s Office for Suicide Prevention.

VA began a pilot program of REACH VET in October of 2016 and rolled it out nationwide this week to address the problem of veteran suicide, which the agency estimated to be as many as 20 every day.

“One Veteran suicide is one too many,” Shulkin said. 

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