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VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System

 

Telemental Health

VA Healthcare services in the comfort of your home

VA Healthcare services in the comfort of your home

By Guest Writer: Reiko Buckles, LMSW
Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The VA Ann Arbor HealthCare System (VAAAHS) provides evidence-supported Telemental Health (TMH) services to Veterans, with emphasis on reaching those who live in underserved areas. Telemental Health services aim to re-create an in-person session with the patient’s clinician using live, interactive videoconferencing technologies.  Telemental Health offers many benefits including - facilitating improved access to basic and specialty mental health services, improved continuity of care, reduced travel time – effort and expense, reduced waiting time, reduced time off from work, and high Veteran satisfaction.

In the VAAAHS, TMH services are offered by our Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Clinical Team (PCT), Substance Use Disorders Clinic (SUD-C), Mental Health Clinic (MHC), Primary Care Mental Health (PCMH),and  Veteran’s Justice Outreach (VJO) program. Services offered by each clinic broadly include intake evaluations, individual and group therapy, case management, and medication management.  These services are delivered by clinicians from a range of mental health disciplines such as Social Workers, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Clinical Nurse Specialists, and Nurse Practitioners. 

An exciting aspect of this technology is the ability for Veterans to receive some of their service from their homes. The VAAAHS Home Based Telemental Health program is currently providing some services (e.g. some types of psychotherapy) to Veterans in their homes. Currently, this requires Veterans to have their own equipment (computer, webcam, high speed internet). We are exploring ways to provide these services using VA approved computer tablets so Veterans without their own equipment may also benefit.

Usual sites of Telemental health care include the Flint, Jackson, and Toledo Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs), community partners’ sites such as Bowling Green State University (BGSU) and Wood County Veteran’s Assistance Center (WCVAC).  The VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System aims to further develop and strengthen our community partnerships so Veterans can meet with their VAAAHS Mental Health providers closer to home.

If Veterans are interested in this service they are encouraged to talk with their mental health provider to determine if TMH treatment is right for them!

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