Telemental health for Veterans expands care and career options

Telemental health connects Veterans and care providers via secure link.


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Work and life put big demands on your time. This can make getting to a counseling session feel like a Herculean task.

VA telemental health professionals are changing that by providing you with greater access to counseling from anywhere in the world — including from home — on a secured channel. In turn, the explosive growth of virtual healthcare at VA is opening up more career options for clinicians in telemental health and for telehealth managers, nurse coordinators and general practitioners.

For patients, telemental health works to connect you with a mental health professional via email, video conferencing, online chat or over the phone.

VA mental health professionals use both synchronous and asynchronous care. The first one connects you to a provider through a communication link (typically video conferencing). The second one involves sending data to specialists so they can assess it at a convenient time offline and get back to you with care advice.

Expanding options to serve Veterans

VA has expanded mental health services in recent years by hiring more than 1,000 providers who are providing faster access to mental healthcare, including telemental health. The MISSION Act also authorized VA to offer telehealth across state lines and strengthened VA’s ability to recruit clinicians and extend telehealth overall.

Since launching telemental health services in fiscal 2002, Veterans have worked with a counselor this way nearly 2.8 million times. That’s an impressive number for a very good reason — it’s working for you and your fellow Veterans. In 2017, psychiatric hospitalizations dropped 31% among those who enrolled in a VA telemental health program.

Telehealth is undeniably convenient if you’re located in a rural or remote area. Being able to connect to a provider using current technology can save you 142 minutes of driving per visit, a 2016 study found. That’s a big plus for the 45% of VA telehealth patients who live in outlying areas.

Veterans diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder even tell us they prefer video conferencing over in-person therapy because they can be at ease at home.

And telehealth costs less, which means VA can invest the savings — an estimated at $6,500 per patient — in making everyone’s care better.

Choose VA today 

If you’re interested in a career in telehealth, VA has opportunities for you to deliver and support innovative care delivery. You’ll also receive competitive pay, benefits and perks, such as the ability to practice anywhere with one active license. Generous paid leave, premium-paid health insurance and access to the Federal Employees Retirement System are all part of your compensation package.

If you are a Veteran in crisis or are concerned about one, connect with the Veterans Crisis Line to reach caring, qualified responders with VA. Many of them are Veterans themselves. Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 or click www.veteranscrisisline.net to chat or text.

Author

VA Careers

Comments

  1. Frank Allen    

    This is a golden opportunity, but it’s still very difficult to navigate. It would work really great in my area, because traffic is unpredictable with all of the bridges and tunnels. But I’ve tried everything I know to do to connect, and it has thus far been impossible. Please help me connect! Thank you!

  2. Sarah Stilz    

    I’d like to offer my services as a piggy-back onto this. I formed the business to help vets get back on their feet.

    Who is best to contact?

  3. G Palumbo    

    FYI At the Houston VA there is a dedicated person to connecting vets with telehealth. She told me she ‘ll e-mail a teat link to to download as a test of your equipment & connection. I seem to recall equipment is available for home use of telehealth from that office.

  4. Frederick M. Dailey    

    How long before I can get telemental health appointments at home rather than driving an hour each way to use the equipment at my Vet Center? My hardware & ISP connection is well beyond adequate,

  5. Glenn Lego    

    All I ever see of my mental health professionals is by telecom. They put me in this little room in front of a computer monitor and I have my session with a guy who is in Madison and I’m in Rockford Illinois

  6. Kimberly Bishop    

    Hopefully this will help veterans have better access to mental health treatment. Unfortunately it seems like the veterans that need help the most are the least likely to receive it. Many vets I see don’t have access to a laptop or a computer in their home to be able to access these services.

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