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New Patient Information

Thank you for choosing the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center for your health care! As a newly enrolled patient, you may have questions about what to do next. On this page, you will find important information and guidance to help you navigate our health care system and to begin accessing services.

Get a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC)

A Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) is a photo ID card you’ll use to check in at your VA health care appointments. 

First, you’ll need to be enrolled in VA health care. After you receive your VA health care welcome call, you can apply for a VHIC in person at a VA medical center or online.

In person

Visit a Houston VA Enrollment/Eligibility Office. Click here for locations, hours and phone numbers.

Bring a current, unexpired ID to your photo appointment

You can bring any of these ID types:

  • State-issued driver’s license, or
  • U.S. passport, or 
  • Federal, state, or local government-issued photo ID showing your name, address, and date of birth

Note: If your ID doesn’t show your address, you’ll need to bring a separate document to confirm your address. This could be your electric bill, cable bill, voter registration card, or another mailed document. 

Learn more about the VHIC

My HealtheVet (online portal)

My HealtheVet is a web-based tool you can use to manage your care and improve your health from your computer or mobile device. You can access your personal health records and use tools to manage your care through our My HealtheVet online system. You can also use My HealtheVet to refill your prescriptions, track appointments, and read informative health articles. If you need help using My HealtheVet, you can contact our coordinator by phone or in person. With My HealtheVet, you can:

  • Ask questions and exchange secure online messages with your VA health care team
  • Check your lab and test results
  • Refill your prescriptions, track delivery, and view a list of your medications
  • Keep track of your VA medical appointments and get email reminders
  • View, download, or print a copy of your VA medical records
  • Enter or update your personal information

My HealtheVet

Schedule your first appointment

Find out how to make, cancel, or reschedule a primary care, mental health, or specialty care appointment at a VA Houston health care facility.

Make an appointment

Preparing for your appointment

What should I bring?

Please bring the following to your appointment:

  • Your Veteran Health ID Card (VHIC). If this is your first appointment, we can help you get your picture taken for your card.
  • Cards for any other types of health coverage you may have (like Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, or private insurance plan).
  • Your appointment confirmation letter.
  • List of your current medications including prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and any herbal supplements.
  • Yes, we’ll send you a reminder by phone about your appointment date, time, and location. If you have more than one appointment on the same day, you'll get a phone call for each appointment.

Can I get a reminder for appointments?

Yes, we’ll send you a reminder by phone about your appointment date, time, and location. If you have more than one appointment on the same day, you'll get a phone call for each appointment.

If you want to get reminders by text message, you'll need to sign up to opt in to this service. Visit the  patient registration office at our Houston location. This service is free, but standard messaging rates from your mobile service provider may apply.

Once you sign up to receive text message reminders, you’ll no longer receive reminders by phone call.

If you have more than one appointment on the same day, you'll get one text reminder for all appointments. You can't cancel or reschedule appointments using our text message reminder service.

How do I cancel or reschedule my appointment?

Please call the clinic where your appointment is scheduled, so we can give the appointment time to another Veteran.

  • For appointments at Houston: 713-794-8985
  • For mental health (behavioral health) appointments: 713-794-8700
  • For appointments at any of our outpatient clinics: Call the clinic where you scheduled the appointment. 

If you miss your appointment without letting the clinic know ahead of time, we'll consider you a "no show" and you'll need to reschedule your appointment. You can also cancel some appointments online.

What if I'm going to be late for my appointment?

Please call us as soon as you can. If you arrive more than 20 minutes late without calling ahead of time, we may have to reschedule your appointment. 

  • For appointments at Houston: 713-797-8985
  • For mental health (behavioral health) appointments: 713-794-8700
  • For appointments at any of our outpatient clinic: Call the clinic where you scheduled the appointment. 

Pharmacy & prescription refills

Find out how to refill your prescriptions, where to pick up new prescription orders, and how to safely dispose of your medicines at a VA Houston health care facility.

Pharmacy | VA Houston Health Care | Veterans Affairs

Health services

We offer a wide range of health, support and facility services for Veterans in southeast Texas. 

View Health Services

Emergency room

The Houston VA Emergency Room (ER) functions under an Emergent Care Triage Protocol System. This means critical cases such as cardiac emergencies, pneumonia, and difficulty breathing are seen before non-critical ones – no matter when a patient came in. 

The ER is not designed to serve as a primary care provider for patients. Patients are assigned a primary care team that consists of a team of nurses, clerks, social workers, dietitians, pharmacists, and other skilled professionals to assure patients receive well-coordinated medical care.

If you have a life-threatening medical emergency, immediately call 911!

Getting emergency care at non-VA facilities

If you think your life or health is in danger, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department. You don’t need to check with us first.

If you go to a non-VA facility—even one that’s in our community care network—you must follow certain rules so that we can cover the cost of your care.

We must get notified of your care within 72 hours

Ask the provider to notify us right away in either of these ways:

We must get the notification within 72 hours of when your emergency care starts. We prefer that the provider notify us. But if they don’t, you or someone acting on your behalf can notify us instead.

Learn more

Patient concerns

Our patient advocates are specially trained to help you resolve issues with your care. If you've experienced any problems that you haven't been able to resolve by talking with your care team, please reach out to one of our patient advocates.

Learn more

Care in the community (Non-VA care)

VA provides care to Veterans through community providers when VA cannot provide the care needed. Community care is based on specific eligibility requirements, availability of VA care, and the needs and circumstances of individual Veterans. 

Learn More

Veterans Crisis Line

Your life is worth it. Keep fighting and never give up. Every day, responders at the Veterans Crisis Line help people going through a crisis. Dial 988 then Press 1 – to reach qualified, caring responders who are ready to listen.

Suicide Prevention & Veterans Crisis Line

Travel Reimbursement

You may be eligible for mileage reimbursement or special mode transport in association with obtaining VA health care services.

VA Travel Pay