VA to establish 5 mental telehealth hubs

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In an effort to improve veterans' access to healthcare, the Department of Veterans Affairs plans to establish five VA Mental Health Telehealth Clinical Resource Centers across the country.

The VA announced its plans at the 2016 American Telemedicine Association conference in Minneapolis. By creating the five centers, the VA seeks to extend the reach of mental health providers in underserved areas.

The five centers will be located in Charleston, S.C.; Salt Lake City; Pittsburgh; and a consortium of facilities in Boise, Idaho; Seattle; and Portland, Ore., constitute the fourth. A fifth facility is  already operational facility in West Haven, Conn., dedicated to the most severe and complex mental health issues, including chronic depression and bipolar disorder. The remaining facilities are expected to be functioning in the summer.

"These mental health telehealth resource centers will provide our veterans in underserved areas the expert mental health providers they may not otherwise be able to obtain locally," said David Shulkin, MD, undersecretary for health at the VA, at the conference. "We know that we are doing more in telehealth than any other healthcare system and connecting mental health providers to areas hard to recruit and retain."

More articles on telehealth:

MedOptions selects WeCounsel as telehealth partner 
Less than 1% of Medicare rural beneficiaries receive telehealth services, study finds 
American Well, CVS Health and Cleveland Clinic partner to deliver on-demand care to healthcare consumers

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