The VA is expanding their Telehealth system with the establishment of five VA Mental Health Telehealth Clinical Resource Centers to provide enhanced mental health access and services to Veterans in remote locations.
Clinical Video Telehealth means that instead of having the cost and inconvenience of traveling by road, rail or air to see a specialist in the hospital the specialist comes to you. If you need medication prescriptions changed or if the you need to see the specialist in person, have special investigations or come into hospital then this can even be arranged through Clinical Video Telehealth.
VA has over 700 hundred community-based outpatient clinics (CBOC) located throughout the country to provide basic medical services to veterans who don't live in a major city or near a VA Hospital. However, these clinics may not have all of the specialty services and staff found at a regional medical center. For example, if specialty care is needed from a cardiologist, neurologist, or psychiatrist for mental health care, the clinic provider may need to refer the veteran to the VA medical center.
Video technology makes it possible for veterans to come to many of VA's community-based outpatient clinics and connect to a specialist physician or other practitioner who may be in a hospital that is dozens, or hundreds or even thousands of miles away.
For many veterans travel to the medical center can be a very complicated and sometimes arduous task, particularly if they live in a very remote or rural area, an area with sometimes severe weather, or even an urban area where congestion and traffic makes travel difficult. Some injuries such as traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury further complicate travel. Travel time is time away from the Veteran's work or family.
The new centers expand veterans access to mental health services by closing the gap in access to mental health care, in particular, in those traditionally underserved communities.
VA currently offers telehealth services in:
- Tele-Amputation Clinics
- Tele-Mental Health
- Tele-Occupational Therapy
- Tele-Primary Care
- Tele-Pulmonology (Sleep Services)
- Tele-Spinal Cord Injury/Disorder
VA is recognized as a world leader in the development of telehealth services that are now mission critical to the future direction of VA care to Veterans. VA uses health informatics, disease management, care and case management and telehealth technologies to facilitate access to care and improve the health of Veterans. VA currently services more than 677,000 Veterans through telehealth; that amounts to approximately 12 percent of the 5.6 Million Veterans who receive healthcare from the VA .
More information about VA’s Telemental health service may be found here.