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HCHD relocates its SW Eligibility Center

DeBakey VA opens new mental health units to care for special needs of returning combat troops and for women Veterans

The Harris County Hospital District recently opened its Southwest Eligibility Center, a new and larger location to register patients for hospital district services. The center is one of five locations across Harris County used by HCHD.

Southwest Eligibility Center is now located at 8901 B Boone Road, Houston, Texas 77099, adjacent to El Franco Lee Health Center, previously located at 6654 Hornwood. The Eligibility Correspondence Department relocates to the new Southwest Eligibility Center.

The 10,000 square-foot facility features 33 interview booths, nearly double the 16 at its current location, to accommodate the daily flow of 240-250 patient registrations. The center will operate from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, with extended hours of 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays.

The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) recently opened two new nursing units to provide specialized inpatient mental health services for returning combat troops and for women Veterans.

“This initiative is extremely important and will significantly enhance our ability to provide mental health care to these two groups of Veterans,” said Adam C. Walmus, MEDVAMC director.

One of the new inpatient units focuses on the unique needs of our nation’s newest Veterans, the troops who have served in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq (OIF).

Combat Veterans are at higher risk for psychiatric problems than military personnel serving in noncombat locations, and more frequent and more intense combat is associated with higher risk. Many of the challenges facing these service members are stressors that have been identified and studied in Veterans of previous wars. In response, VA has developed world class expertise in treating chronic mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anger management, substance abuse, and depressive disturbances.

The MEDVAMC also added a mental health inpatient unit with 10 beds especially for women Veterans. By 2010, women Veterans will make up more than 14 percent of the total Veteran population. This new inpatient unit will respond to the distinctive mental health needs of this group and accommodate female Veterans who do not feel comfortable in mixed-gender treatment settings.

For more information about the Harris County Hospital District, visit www.hchdonline.com or call 713-566-6509