The role of the psychologist in the veterans administration’s patient aligned care team and huddle: A review, practical recommendations, and a call to action

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Rodrigo Velezmoro *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Rodrigo Velezmoro | rodrigo.velezmoro2@va.gov

Abstract

The Veterans Administration (VA)’s Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) model has been a cornerstone of primary care in the VA healthcare system and has indicated the need for an organizational cultural shift towards interdisciplinary care. Most of the focus in PACT has been on the traditional providers of the medical model, with little attention focused on the role of the psychologist. This paper examines how psychologists can assist in the PACT model and, in particular, within the team VA huddle. Literature on the PACT model, mental health in PACT, and the advantages of the huddle are reviewed. Lessons learned within a large VA clinic are also discussed. Psychologists’ ability to be a clinician, teambuilder, and system specialist is discussed and how it benefits the PACT and the huddling process. Practical recommendations are made for how to best assist during the huddle, and how to advocate for both the huddle, and for a broader cultural shift in care.

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