Explore Durham VA's diverse program offerings, which include patient health care, cutting-edge clinical research, and other specialties.
Enemies change tactics over time, and so do viruses. Keep your defenses current. Protect the health of family, fellow Veterans, newborns, the elderly, and yourself. Your health care team recommends getting the 2023-2024 influenza and COVID vaccines; if you are age 60+, talk to your care team about whether RSV vaccine is right for you.
Why Get Vaccinated Now?
- Join your fellow Veterans and VA employees in battling viral threats with the updated vaccines. Stay ahead of the viruses.
- You trust the Durham VA Health Care System to provide your care and health information. Talk with your provider about fighting the risks of COVID, RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), and influenza. Get the facts on benefits and risks.
- Protect your right to be as healthy as possible. Fire up your fellow Veterans to fortify their viral defenses!
- Durham VA patients have a high rate of COVID and Flu vaccinations. Don’t be left behind this year. Ask for your vaccinations.
COVID-19 Vaccine Updated: VA is now offering updated COVID vaccines for the 2023-2024 season. The updated vaccines target more recent COVID strains.
Availability and Information: Flu and COVID vaccines are widely available in Primary Care and Specialty Clinics, free of charge to Veterans and VA Health Care employees. For more information on COVID-19 vaccines, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html. COVID and flu vaccines may be given together.
Is RSV Vaccination Right for Me? Talk with your provider to see if the RSV vaccination is right for you. RSV vaccines are FDA approved for adults age 60 and older. Adults at highest risk for severe RSV disease include older adults, adults with chronic medical conditions such as heart or lung disease, weakened immune systems, or certain other underlying medical conditions, or who live in nursing homes or long-term care facilities.
Prefer to Schedule a visit? You can also call us at 919-286-0411 to schedule an appointment for your updated shot. Our staff will help you find a time that’s convenient for you.
Vaccinations Provided at no Charge: Updated vaccines are available free of charge to VA healthcare employees and Veterans receiving care at VA. We are no longer authorized to vaccinate spouses.
Updated 2023-2024 COVID-19 Shot Eligibility
- All adults should receive one updated 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine dose, if it’s been at least 2 months since receiving any older COVID-19 vaccine.
- Anyone who has not yet received any COVID-19 vaccine should receive an updated COVID-19 vaccine.
- People with moderately to severely immunocompromising conditions may receive additional updated 2023-2024 COVID-19 doses, if recommended by their provider.
You are up to date if you have had one dose of the most recent COVID-19 vaccine that became available in September 2023.
Spouses and caregivers: Due to the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, spouses, caregivers and unenrolled Veterans are no longer eligible to receive COVID vaccines through the VA.
Flu and COVID vaccines are available to Veterans at no-cost in your community at select in-network pharmacies: You can search for an in-network pharmacy by going to Find VA Locations | Veterans Affairs. Bring this billing card with you when you go: OCC-Billing-Information-Card.pdf (va.gov)
Colonoscopy Prep Instructions (Click Here)
Colonoscopy Golytely (1 Jug) Split Preparation Instructions
Report to GI Clinic 30 minutes before your appointment for registration
- You will be here for about 2-4 hours.
- Please leave your valuables at home.
EGD and Colonoscopy (Double)
If you are scheduled to have an EGD (Upper Endoscopy) on the same day as your colonoscopy, there is no additional preparation. Both procedures are done together in one appointment. Loose teeth need to be secured or removed by a dentist prior to an EGD.
Sedating medications can affect your judgment, memory, and sense of time. You may be affected by these medicines for up to 24 hours after the procedure.
It is the Veteran's choice to have the procedure with or without sedation. If the Veteran chooses to have the procedure without sedation, please be advised, you will be awake and can watch the procedure at your discretion. Patients who choose NOT to be sedated, DO NOT need a driver.
Driver: Required for patients receiving sedation for procedure.
- Your driver must be with you when you check in.
- Your driver must be at least 18 years of age.
- Your driver must stay in the hospital during your procedure.
DAV Van: If the Veteran is travelling by DAV Van, they are required to have an adult assistance on the van before and after the procedure. A doctor’s note may be provided, which is to be given to the DAV van driver.
Lodging: If the Veteran lives 75 miles or more away and the appointment is 10 a.m. or earlier. If you are interested in lodging, please let us know and we can enter a request for you.
Gastrointestinal and Endoscopy
Gastrointestinal (GI) Clinic visits are located throughout the hospital (1C, 1D, 8A, Area C, Ground Floor GI clinic FG344).
- General GI Clinic
- Esophagus clinic
- Pancreas clinic
- Liver Clinic
- Patient Education: Liver (new diagnosis Hepatitis C, vaccines, Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver disease, cirrhosis)
- Patient Education: GI (colonoscopy preparation, inflammatory bowel disease case management)
- Clinical Research trials: (PAL-LIVER) https://www.pcori.org/research-results/2017/comparing-two-ways-offer-palliative-care-improve-quality-life-patients-end
GI Procedures that Use Sedation
*Veterans must bring a driver or guardian to the appointments that use sedation
- Upper Endoscopy (EGD)
- ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography)
- Upper and Lower Endoscopic Ultrasound
- Capsule endoscopy
- Small bowel enteroscopy
- Esophageal manometry and pH impedance testing
- GI Clinic Manometry Appointment Letter
- Liver Biopsy (consent is obtained in the Endoscopy Suite FG344, procedure is completed in the IRU, F3243)
- Non-invasive liver elastography (fibroscan)
GI infusions are located in the Interventional Radiology Unit, F3243
- Biological therapies for Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Appointments/Hours of Operation
- All GI/Endoscopy appointments are scheduled through a consult/order from your Primary Practitioner/Clinic. If you are unsure as to why you were scheduled to this appointment, please contact your Primary Care Provider.
- Hours of operation: Mon- Fri: Open 7:30 am - 6 pm, Sat/Sun: CLOSED
- Arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment. (You may arrive at 7:30 if your appointment is at 8am.)
- If you cannot keep your scheduled appointment, please call to cancel or reschedule at least 24 hours in advance. This allows another Veteran to obtain needed medical care.
- Scheduling: Toll Free- 1-888-878-6890 ext. 176945, Direct- 919-286-6945
- GI Nurse line (procedure questions) 919-286-0411 ext. 175080
- GI-Liver Nurse Line: 919-309-5451
- Pharmacy: Automated Refill Line - 919-286-0411 ext. 172700 or Toll Free: 1-888-878-6890: ext. 172700
- GI Clinic Fax-919-416-5947
- GI RN Triage Fax-919-416-5821
- Secure Message – “GI clinic” at www.myhealth.va.gov
Gastrointestinal and Endoscopy Prep Instructions
Liver Biopsy Instructions
Upon arriving at the VA, please stop at the LAB to have blood drawn. Please plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled biopsy procedure to have labs drawn. Orders for labs/blood withdrawal will be placed prior to your visit.
After having your labs drawn, please proceed to the GI Clinic on the Ground Floor of the VA Hospital (FG344). You will meet with the provider who will perform your biopsy to sign consent.
After consent is signed, you will then proceed to the IRU (F3243) on the Third Floor of the hospital. This is where the procedure will be performed.
In order to reduce the risk of complications from the biopsy, please note the following instructions:
- Unless instructed otherwise by our staff, STOP taking any Aspirin, Coumadin (warfarin), Plavix (clopidogrel), Heparin/Lovenox SQ, or any other medications that your doctor has indicated that effect blood clotting for SEVEN (7) DAYS PRIOR TO YOUR BIOPSY. These medicines increase the chance of bleeding.
- You may eat a light breakfast such as toast, juice and coffee or tea; however, please do not overeat before the biopsy. We will provide lunch for you.
- If you take blood pressure and/or heart medications take it in the morning with only enough water to swallow.
- YOU MUST HAVE A DRIVER TO TAKE YOU HOME. We will not perform the biopsy, nor will we release you to go home, unless your driver is physically present.
- After the biopsy, you will be observed in the IRU for 2-3 hours.
It is VERY IMPORTANT that you let us know as soon as possible if you are unable to keep this appointment. If you can't keep your appointment, please call to reschedule at: 888-878-6890, extension 6945 or 919-286-6945.
GI-Liver Nurse Line: 919-309-5451
Minority Veterans Program
Demetris McLeod, Minority Veterans Program Manager
Phone: (919) 395 - 1922
Durham VAMC Minority Veterans Program
The goal of the Durham VA Medical Center Minority Veterans Program (MVP) is to increase local awareness of minority Veteran related issues. The program also strives to enhance strategies to increase Veteran participation in existing VA benefits and programs for eligible Veterans. The program also ensures that minority Veterans receive benefits and services on par with other Veterans, encounter no barriers or impediments in their attempts to access those services, while being treated with respect and dignity by VA service providers.
The program is designed to act as a mediator and facilitator. As such, the program does not process claims, handle equal employment complaints, or employee related problems. The program is dedicated to ensuring that all Veterans are aware of benefits, services and programs offered by the VA.
Who do we serve?
The Durham VAMC Minority Veterans program services all Veterans including:
Native Americans, including
Pacific Island Americans
Who do I contact?
The Durham VA Medical Center has designated a Minority Veterans Program Coordinator (MVPC) whose role is to:
Assist management of the medical center in their efforts to address the needs of minority Veterans
Focus on the needs of minority Veterans in our local community
Identify barriers and create a more accessible environment for minority Veterans
Inform Veterans of VA benefits, services and programs
If you would like more information about the Durham VA Medical Center Minority Veterans program, please contact our MVPC.
MyHealtheVet (MHV) is a web-based portal.
Prescription refills are the most requested feature by our Veteran MHV Users and with the In-Person Authentication (IPA) process now guaranteeing secure user access to more medication information will be provided. Instead of the prescription number only for refills, IPA will release the actual names of the medications in a secure environment that will make reordering safer and simpler. Seeing the names of medications requires release of information, with the patient signing a Release of Information (ROI) consent form after security/privacy training. Later in 2007, MHV users will be able to view portions of their electronic medical record, like labs; view appointments and co-pay balances; and give access to all or portions of their medical record to family members or other designee.
IPA is the latest enhancement to MHV. The first step in the IPA process is to register for MHV access and be identified as a MHV user. You can do this by going to www.myhealth.va.gov. You will set up your own individual account, with a User ID and Password. You will have access to “Quick Links” that will allow Veterans to log Emergency contacts, refill medications on-line, seek medication information and a lot more. Once you have completed the IPA process, your MHV account will look a little different.
Patients can receive the on-line training through the MHV web-site at home or at MHV computer stations located in the Durham VA Medical Center. The privacy and security training consist of viewing a video, agreeing to a privacy statement, and completing a MHV Special Consent and Participation Form. The form can be downloaded from a computer or a copy is made available at the ROI office.
There is a one-time validation process required: The MHV user must go to a local VA facility’s ROI office, read and sign the consent form, acknowledge the viewing the video, and present government identification, like a Veteran Identification Card (VIC) Card or valid driver’s license and the user must appear in person for this process.
Once the MHV user is authenticated, the names of the medications are immediately released for viewing.
The Durham VA Medical Center provides technical support and assistance to veterans with the IPA process. As of February 21, 2007, the In-Person Authentication process that requires Release of Information support cannot be completed in the Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC’s). However, the patient education component is available in all four CBOCs with administrative approval to place computers for training. ROI capability is under review. We will keep you posted on when the entire IPA process can be accomplished in the CBOCs.
Whole Health System – Helping Veterans Live Healthy
About Whole Health
It all starts with the question “What matters most to you in your life?” Answering this is the first step in a new model called Whole Health. There are four key parts to the Whole Health Model:
- ME: The equation begins with you, the “Me” at the center. Your story is unique and your whole health begins with YOU. Starting here will help empower you to take charge of your health.
- Self Care: Each of us has the power to impact our well-being, but we may not have the skills or support to make those changes. It starts with looking at all the dimensions of your whole health. Doing so can help one experience a deeper sense of meaning, peace, joy, or comfort.
- Professional Care: Your health team is here to help with the prevention and treatment of disease and illness.
- Community: Just as there is a “Me” at the center of the circle, there is a “We” that enfolds it. Your Community is however you define it and often includes where you live, work, and worship, as well as all the people and groups you connect with.
Whole Health is designed to help Veterans achieve and maintain their best health and well-being. Our department will empower you to begin developing your personalized health plan shaped around what matters to you most, equip you with the tools and support you need to proactively care for your health in our wellbeing programs, and treat you with complementary and integrative health modalities with licensed clinicians trained in developing healing relationships with their patients.
The road to better health lies within you.
The Whole Health System at the Durham VA HCS
Personal Health Planning: A comprehensive approach to health that merges the needs, preferences, and goals for whole health defined by the veteran with the health risk assessment, clinical evaluation, and therapeutic plan defined by the provider. The end results are shared goals that address the clinical needs in the context of what matters to the Veteran. The process for personal health planning includes the following:
The Pathway is EMPOWERING: We partner with you, as well as your family and community, to explore your mission, purpose, and aspirations that will guide the development of your personal health plan.
Well-Being Programs are EQUIPPING: We work with you to build the skills and support you need and to identify proactive, integrative health approaches such as stress reduction, physical activity, weight management, tobacco cessation, yoga, tai chi, mindfulness, nutrition, acupuncture, and health coaching that will help you take charge of your health and well-being, prevent diseases, and live your life to the fullest.
Whole Health Clinical Care is TREATING: You will work with your health team to continue to refine your personal health plan with traditional and complementary and integrative health approaches to support your health and to enhance your self-management strategies to strengthen your health.
Personal Development Classes:
- 2 Hour Whole Health Introduction Course: Educate about the benefits of a Whole Health approach to well-being. Introduction to Whole Health Invitation.doc
- Taking Charge of My Life and Health: Whole Health facilitated groups, currently conducted weekly, by appointment, for 9 weeks, where participants engage in Personal Health Planning, based on what matters to them, and are provided support to address their health and well-being.
- Personal Health Planning in Primary Care Clinic
- Personal Health Planning in Shared Medical Appointments
- Acupuncture / Battlefield Acupuncture
- Chiropractic Care
- Acupuncture / Battlefield Acupuncture
- Chiropractic Care
- Mindfulness Programs / Meditation / Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
- Yoga Classes
- Music Therapy
- Guided Imagery
- MOVE Program
- Staff Retreats
- Tai Chi Classes
- Durham Integrative Pain Clinic Educational Class Series
Check out the VA Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation website for more information about Whole Health Care and to access the My Story Personal Health Inventory:https://www.va.gov/patientcenteredcare/
Speak with the members of your Durham VA HCS care team to learn more about the current offerings locally.