Press Release: VA Portland Offers Safe Mental Health Care During The COVID-19 Outbreak

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Now more than ever, VA Portland Health Care System (VAPORHCS) is committed to providing high-quality mental health care while keeping Veterans safe from exposure to the coronavirus.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, VAPORHCS asks all Veterans to honor stay-at-home orders and only come to the hospital for urgent/emergent issues.  We ask that Veterans use VA’s online resources for routine or non-urgent mental health care and questions. This will help protect Veterans while enabling providers at VAPORHCS to address mental health concerns without increasing the risk of exposure for Veterans seeking care. 

“Due to COVID-19 precautionary measures and out of concern for our Veterans, we are honoring current social isolation and distancing guidelines,” said Darwin Goodspeed, VAPORHCS director. “Through VA’s virtual care tools, we are able to leverage available technology to make sure that our patients and staff are as safe as possible during this time.”

VA offers Veterans a variety of at-home resources, including the following:

Telephone or Video Appointments – Veterans should maintain their existing mental health appointments and may receive care at home using VA Video Connect on their computers, smartphones, or tablets. Veterans using VA Video Connect on their current Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile or TracPhone 4G LTE data plans will not be charged data usage for their VVC video visit.  To set up telephone or video appointments, Veterans can send their health care provider a secure message on My HealtheVet by visiting myhealth.va.gov. Veterans may also call VA Portland at 503-220-8262, option 2 to relay a message to their Primary or Specialty Care team or to make change or cancel an appointment. To learn more about VA Video Connect, visit mobile.va.gov/app/va-video-connect.

Mental Health Information and Resources – VA provides information on ways for Veterans and their families to maintain and enhance their mental health and well-being during the COVID-19 outbreak. Information about managing stress and anxiety, as well as mental health resources, are available at www.mentalhealth.va.gov/coronavirus/resources. For more details about accessing VAPORHCS Mental Health services, click HERE.

Prescription Refills and Safety – Veterans should continue taking all medications as prescribed and talk to their mental health provider if they have any concerns. Veterans may request prescription refills and order shipments of medications to their homes using My HealtheVet or the Rx Refill mobile app, which can be downloaded at mobile.va.gov/app/rx-refill. VA’s Safe Home Environment handout provides information on safely storing medications in the home. Learn more details are on the VAPORHCS Pharmacy web page.

Text Message Reminders – Veterans can use Annie’s Coronavirus Precautions protocol to send automated text messages with information about COVID-19. This application helps Veterans monitor for symptoms and can assist if they need to contact their VA facility for care. Enroll at mobile.va.gov/annie.

Secure Messaging – With My HealtheVet, VA’s online patient portal, Veterans can send online secure messages to your VA health care team to ask them nonurgent health questions. Register at www.myhealth.va.gov.

For more information on ways for Veterans to maintain and enhance their mental health and well-being during the COVID-19 outbreak, visit www.mentalhealth.va.gov/coronavirus

For more information about VA’s Connected Care technologies, visit connectedcare.va.gov.

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