, AL — Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center Partners with the Alabama Department of Public Health to Expand Mental Health Services to Veterans in West Alabama
Starting Monday, November 8th, Veterans in Pickens County and the surrounding area won’t have to travel very far to access mental health care from the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center (TVAMC). Veterans will now be able to receive telemental healthcare at the Pickens County, Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) instead of driving over an hour to get to the TVAMC in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Telehealth has continued to increase in its usage during the COVID pandemic and has opened up innovative ways of delivering care where patients need it most-in their homes and in their communities. Leaders have long recognized that the availability and cost of transportation are major barriers to needed care in underserved rural areas throughout Alabama. Through the increased use of telehealth, patients not only have access to providers they would not otherwise see in rural areas, they are more likely to remain in care because of its convenience and adhere to their treatment regimens. “In so many of our rural areas, the connectivity has a number of problems and is very limited” Dr. Rebecca Meyer, Associate Chief of Staff for Mental Health at the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center states. “Driving to the Public Health Department will allow a connection through a video camera – problem solved! One of our first Veterans to sign up for an appointment says that he looks forward to not losing the connection!”
The partnership between TVAMC and ADPH is entitled “Mission Possible” and signifies the possibilities that telemental health can provide like quick access to mental health providers at the Tuscaloosa VA and wide variety of treatment options. Pickens County is just a start for the TVAMC’s Mission Possible. They hope to expand to 11 more health departments with their 13-county catchment area in order to reach Veterans where they are.
"We are excited that Veterans will have this new option to see and speak with their providers with our secure audio-video internet connection. Conversations are both HIPAA complaint and encrypted," April Golson, director of the ADPH Office of Telehealth, said. "We are looking forward to having Veterans come to our facility."
Veterans in the Pickens County and surrounding areas wishing to utilize the Pickens County Health Department for the mental healthcare location of choice, can call our Mental Health Clinic 205-554-2000, at extensions1-3098 or 1-3099 to schedule an appointment. Appointments are available Monday mornings beginning November 8th. The Pickens County Health Department is located at 80 William E. Hill Dive, Carrolton, Alabama 35447.
For more information on Mission Possible, contact Anthony Meggs 205-554-2000, extension 1-4836.