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VISN 4 MIRECC Clinical

The Goal of Our Clinical Activities

Ultimately, the MIRECC exists to improve clinical care for veterans. The MIRECC seeks to do this directly by offering clinical consultation and training to practitioners throughout VISN 4, and by sponsoring clinical and/or educational demonstration projects. The MIRECC also improves clinical care indirectly by developing best practice models developed through the study and implementation of measurement-based mental health care. This theme is reflected in several ongoing clinical efforts, including:
The Behavioral Health Laboratory (BHL)
The Behavioral Health Laboratory (BHL), currently located both at the Philadelphia VAMC and VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, provides assessment and referral for depression and substance use disorders for veterans who screen positive for these disorders during primary care visits. See this link for more information.
Coaching Into Care
Coaching Into Care
is an innovative telephone-based clinical service to work with family member callers who want to encourage Veterans in their family to engage in VA care. It is conducted by the VISN 4 MIRECC in partnership with the VISN 6 and 22 MIRECCs. Many veterans are reluctant to access VA care, or may not recognize their need to access care. Family members are very aware of Vveterans’ mental health difficulties want to play a positive role in helping veterans seek help that they need. This outreach campaign attempts to reach new veterans through their concerned family members and providing information and support to help the veteran access VA facilities for services and benefits. Coaching of family members is provided in situations in which a veteran is particularly reluctant to access care, in order to promote positive and effective methods by family members in their efforts to motivate the veteran to obtain this care. Director: Steven L. Sayers, Ph.D.
For more information, contact Steven Sayers, Ph.D.
Peer Resource Center
The VISN 4 MIRECC Peer Resource Center (412-360-2852) at VA Pittsburgh Health Care System is a Center dedicated to providing consulting services, training, evaluation and monitoring, and advocacy. Led by Matthew Chinman, a nationally recognized peer services researcher, the Center offers consulting services to programs or departments hoping to initiate, expand or improve peer support services. We coordinate training and education opportunities with local and national experts who are experienced in this field.
Click here to access the Peer Specialist Toolkit page (opens in a new tab). 
Buprenorphine in the VA (BIV) Project
The goals of the Buprenorphine in the VA (BIV) Project are to improve the implementation of office-based treatment of opioid dependence in the VA and improve process of care and patient level outcomes of those on buprenorphine. The following activities have been implemented to help achieve these goals:
Consult Service: A network of buprenorphine experts who assist VA healthcare providers in overcoming barriers to treating opioid dependent patients with buprenorphine. Phone: 412-360-2207, John Harding, Jr.
Resource Guide: Introduces the office-based treatment of opioid dependence using buprenorphine to VA health care providers, provides links to web-based buprenorphine resources, and answers a multitude of frequently asked questions.
Monthly Newsletter (current or past issues): Provides clinical tips and keeps VA healthcare providers abreast of buprenorphine-related news, research, and new resources.
Semi-monthly online in-services: Various buprenorphine experts present information about hot issues and answer questions. For more information, contact John Harding, Jr.
VAPHS Time-Limited Case Management (TLC)
The VAPHS Time-Limited Case Management (TLC) program for SMI with Comorbid SUD is designed to reduce rehospitalization and to enhance adherence to treatment for individuals with mental illness and comorbid substance use disorders. The specific aims of the program are to: 1) decrease rates of rehospitalization and, 2) improve rates of aftercare follow-up with regularly scheduled appointments (e.g., follow-up with outpatient psychiatry appointments, group therapy sessions, individual psychotherapy sessions, and community programs) among individuals with a history of frequent rehospitalization. This short-term transitional program includes coordinated and team-based case management support and specialized substance abuse recovery groups and is geared specifically to address the needs of individuals with comorbid mental health and alcohol/substance use disorders.For more information, contact Sharon McCarthy.


Johanna Klaus, Ph.D.
Associate Director for Clinical Activities
Philadelphia VAMC
215-823-5800 Ext. 5899