Providing comprehensive resources for Veterans and their families.

Providing comprehensive resources for Veterans and their families.

Local Provider @ VSO

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For More Information Contact:
Santa Cruz Veterans Services Office

Address:
842 Front Street
Santa Cruz, CA

Open:
Monday-Thursday 8AM-12PM & 1PM-5PM
831-454-7276

VA Healthcare

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Enrolling in VA Healthcare

VA provides world-class health care to eligible Veterans. The Veterans Health Administration is America’s largest integrated health care system, with more than 1,200 sites of care, and it is consistently ranked among the nation’s top healthcare providers.

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Priority Groups

The VA Healthcare system determines eligibility for each veteran, but certain veterans with service-connected disabilities are entitled to priority care. When a veteran enrolls in the VA Healthcare system, the VA assigns veterans to a priority group, numbered 1 through 8.

The lower the number of a priority group, the higher priority the veteran gets in receiving care. This priority takes the form of earlier appointments, priority in the timing of noncritical care, placement in local programs, and care in a local facility when the availability of care is limited.

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My HealtheVet

My Healthevet is the VA's online portal where Veterans can schedule appointments, refill prescriptions, view their health records, and send secure messages to their healthcare team.

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VA Palo Alto healthcare system

VA Palo Alto Division Address
3801 Miranda Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94304
Main Phone: (650) 493-5000

Appointments
Phone: (800) 455-0057 (push 4 to speak with staff.)

The VA Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS) consists of three inpatient facilities located at Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Livermore, plus seven outpatient clinics. VAPAHCS operates over 800 beds, including three nursing homes and a 100-bed homeless domiciliary - all to serve more than 67,000 enrolled Veterans.

VAPAHCS is a teaching hospital, providing a full range of patient care services with state-of-the-art technology as well as education and research.

VAPAHCS maintains one of the top three research programs in the VA with extensive research centers in geriatrics, mental health, Alzheimer's disease, spinal cord regeneration, and more. An affiliation with the Stanford University School of Medicine provides a rich academic environment including medical training for physicians in virtually all specialties and subspecialties. 

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Transportation

There are several modes of transportation throughout Santa Cruz County and to system-wide VA Healthcare facilities:

VA Shuttle Bus:

The bus operates Monday - Friday with stops at the Vet Center in Capitola at 9 am and in front of the Santa Cruz County VSO at 9:20 am. The bus departs VA Palo Alto at 2:00 pm and returns to Santa Cruz at approximately 3:50 pm.

Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Van:

The DAV Van departs from Santa Cruz VSO to Palo Alto. An appointment is required at least 3 days in advance by contacting the Santa Cruz VSO at (831) 454-7276. Note: Appointment times must be 10 am or earlier.

Lift Line:

Lift Line provides FREE transportation services to the VA Seaside Clinic Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Advanced reservations are necessary. There are various Pick up locations and Lift Line will provide door to door service for wheelchair bound riders. Please make doctor appointments between 10:00 am Noon. Lift Line can provide additional transportation throughout the Bay Area follow the link for more info.

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In Home Care

In Home Care

Home health care or In-home care is delivered by a community-based home health agency that has a contract with VA. The program is for Veterans who need skilled services, case management, and help with activities of daily living. Examples include help with bathing, dressing, fixing meals or medication management.

The services of a Homemaker or Home Health Aide can help Veterans remain living in their own home and can serve Veterans of any age.

A Homemaker or Home Health Aide can be used as a part of an alternative to nursing home care, and as a way to get Respite Care at home for Veterans and their family caregiver.

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Online Prescription

Online Rx (prescriptions) is the pharmacy component of the VA website “My HealtheVet," which allows refilling and tracking of VA prescriptions.

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Pharmacy

Mail in the refills slips with your last prescription to:

VA Palo Alto Health Care System
Pharmacy Service (119)
3801 Miranda Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94304

Phone:
1-800-311-2511

The VA Palo Alto Healthcare System has several options for your prescription medication needs. The VA prefers to mail all medication and refills to your home.

To ensure your medications are received in a timely manner verify that refills are available, and order refills two weeks before medications run out. Long-term use medications may be ordered as soon as the prescription is received and most medications are available with a 90-day supply.

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Post 9/11 Caregiver Program

There is the Family Caregiver Program and the General Caregiver Program.

The Family Caregiver Program was established for caregivers of eligible Veterans seriously injured on or after September 11, 2001. Approved family caregivers are eligible for a monthly stipend, CHAMPVA health care, mental health services, and respite care. Travel, lodging, and per diem during mandatory training, education, and Veteran medical appointments is available.

The General Caregiver Program has been established for caregivers of eligible Veterans of all eras. General caregivers are eligible for: caregiver education and training, mental health counseling, respite care and information on other VA services

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Mental Health

VA Palo Alto Health Care System provides a broad array of mental health services, both inpatient and outpatient. They provide consultation, evaluation, and treatment for a variety of issues that can impact emotional well-being such as:

  • Addiction to drugs or alcohol, addictive behavior
  • PTSD
  • Depression, Sadness, Grief
  • Anxiety, worry, nervousness
  • Family & Relationship problems
  • Job-related issues
  • Stress from medical conditions or pain
  • Managing anger/aggression
  • Self-harming thoughts or behaviors

The links below connects you with our mental health page where all mental health resources and providers available.

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TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury)

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a disruption in the normal function of the brain that may happen from a blow or jolt to the head or an object penetrating the brain. When the brain is injured, the person can experience a change in consciousness that can range from becoming disoriented and confused to slipping into a coma.

TBI frequently occurs in combination with other disabling conditions such as amputation, burns, auditory/visual damage, spinal cord injury, PTSD, and other medical conditions. The combination of severe injuries to more than one organ is referred to as polytrauma. ‍

The Palo Alto Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center (PRC) is one of 5 facilities in the country designed to provide intensive rehabilitative care to Veterans and Servicemembers who experienced severe injuries (including brain injuries) to more than one organ system. Palo Alto also houses a Polytrauma Network Site (PNS)- one of 23 facilities designed to provide long-term rehabilitative care designed to provide long-term rehabilitative care.

Visit Our Mental Health Page

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PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that individuals can develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. Veterans diagnosed with PTSD from their time in service can be compensated. There are four general types of PTSD symptoms, but they may not be exactly the same for everyone. Each person experiences symptoms in their own way.

  • Reliving the event

  • Avoiding situations that remind you of the event

  • Having more negative beliefs and feelings

  • Feeling "keyed up"

Capitola Vet Center

The Vet Center Program was established by Congress in 1979 out of recognition that a significant number of Vietnam era vets were still experiencing readjustment problems.
The goal of the Vet Center program is to provide a broad range of counseling, outreach, and referral services to eligible veterans in order to help them make a satisfying post-war readjustment to civilian life.

Vet Centers are also authorized to furnish bereavement counseling services to surviving parents, spouses, children and siblings of service members who die of any cause while on active duty.

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Glasses

If you qualify for VA health care benefits and are enrolled, you may be able to get some or all of your vision care needs through the VA. If eligible, the VA will cover routine eye exams and preventive vision testing.

The VA will cover the cost of glasses if you meet one of the following requirements:

  • Have a compensable service-connected disability
  • A former Prisoner of War
  • Awarded the Purple Heart
  • Receive benefits under Title 38 United States Code 1151
  • Receive an increased pension due to being permanently housebound and in need of regular aid and attendance, have vision problems caused by illness or injury for which you're receiving VA care for.
  • Functional or cognitive impairment or vision and hearing loss severe enough that glasses would help reduce impact on impairment

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Hearing Aids

To receive hearing aids through the VA, you must be enrolled in VA Healthcare. When enrolled, you may schedule an appointment at the Audiology and Speech Pathology Clinic for an evaluation of  your hearing. 

The audiologist will make a clinical determination on the need for hearing aids and/or other hearing assistive devices.  If hearing aids are recommended and fit, the hearing aids, repairs, and future batteries will all be at no charge to you, as long as you maintain VA eligibility for care.

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Prosthetics/Adaptive Equipment

The VA's Rehabilitation and Prosthetic services is responsible for the national policies and programs for:

  • Medical rehabilitation
  • Prosthetic
  • Sensory Aids

They are responsible for providing services that promote health, independence, and quality of life for Veterans with disabilities.
Home Improvements and Structural Alterations grants are available for qualified veterans to assist in making alterations to their home to accommodate for a disability.

The VA offers Home Improvements and Structural Alterations Grants (HISA Grants). This grant provides medically necessary improvements and structural alterations to Veteran's primary residence. The lifetime HISA benefit amount may be up to $6,800 depending on veterans rating and service-connection.

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Housing

SSVF Grants

Provide deposit and rent assistance to eligible homeless or at risk of homelessness veterans. Grants are issued through the Veterans Resource Center and the Homeless Services Center.

Emergency Housing (HCHV 90-Day Program)

The Healthcare for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) program has a 90-day emergency housing program for eligible homeless veterans. During their stay, veterans learn to access VA resources are helped in transitioning into permanent housing.

Grant and Per Diem (Transitional Housing- Up to 2 years)

The Grant and Per Diem (GPD) program offers upt to 2 years of transitional housing resources to homelss and at risk of being homeless veterans and their families.

HUD-VASH

The HUD-VASH Program is a partnership between the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and many local Public Housing Authorities (PHA). The program combines the Housing Choice Voucher providing rental assistance for homeless veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the VA. The Housing Choice Voucher can be used at the the rental of their choosing.

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Dental

VA offers comprehensive dental benefits to certain qualifying Veterans. The VA Dental Fact Sheet below lists the eligibility requirements for outpatient VA dental.

VADIP (VA Dental Insurance Program):

If not eligible for VA Dental Benefits, Veterans enrolled in VA Healthcare can purchase dental insurance at a reduced cost through the VA Dental Insurance Program (VADIP).

Covered services are offered in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Any Veteran enrolled in VA healthcare and any individual enrolled in CHAMPVA is eligible for the program.

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Substance Use Programs

Veterans may have problems with use of alcohol, tobacco or drugs. Substance use can harm health, cause mood and behavior problems, hurt social relationships, and cause financial problems.

Available treatments address all types of problems related to substance use, from unhealthy use of alcohol to life-threatening addictions. The VA Palo Alto health care system has three main programs for treating substance abuse:

  • Addiction Consultation and Treatment (ACT)
  • Domiciliary Program
  • Foundations of Recovery Program

Substance abuse services also provided and supported by the VA include: 

  • First Step
  • Foundations of Recovery
  • HVRP
  • IOP (Intensive Outpatient Programs)

Please visit our Substance Help page to get a comprehensive overview of all the services and resources available to help with substance abuse.

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Non-VA Care/VA Billing

VA Billing
While many Veterans qualify for enrollment and cost-free health care services based on a compensable service-connected condition or other qualifying factors, certain Veterans will be asked to complete a financial assessment to determine their eligibility for cost-free
medical services, medications and travel benefits.

Non-VA Care is medical care provided to eligible Veterans outside of the VA when VA facilities are not available. All VA medical centers can use this program when needed. .

The use of the Non-VA Care program is governed by federal laws containing eligibility criteria and other policies specifying when and why it can be used.
A pre-authorization for treatment in the community is required for Non-VA Care, unless the medical event is an emergency. Emergency events may be reimbursed on behalf of the Veteran in certain cases.

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CHAMPVA

The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) is a comprehensive health care program in which the VA shares the cost of covered health care services and supplies with eligible beneficiaries.

To be eligible the recipient must be one of the following: The spouse or child of a veteran who the VA has rated permanently and totally disabled for a service-connected disability. Contact the VSO Office for more information and assistance.

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TriCare

Tricare is the medical insurance provided to Active Duty service-members and their dependents. Tricare is also available for Retirees, National Guard and Reserve Members and their families, surviving dependents, and Medal Honor Recipients.

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Presumptive Conditions

The VA has made a list of Presumptive conditions in which the time of service of the veteran and location is taken into account and provided a generalized minimum rating based upon those conditions.

Presumptive Conditions

  • Agent Orange
  • Gulf War
  • Radiation
  • ALS
  • POW
  • Camp Lejeune (Contaminated Water)

Exposed to burn pits? Here’s three things you should know about the Burn Pit Registry:

  • Registry participants can get a free medical evaluation to discuss their concerns and completed questionnaire with a knowledgeable VA provider. Call a local Environmental Health Coordinator today to schedule your evaluation.
  • Joining the registry is faster than ever. We’ve updated the eligibility verification process—greatly shortening or eliminating previous delays resulting from manual eligibility checks.
  • The registry is not just for Post-9/11 Veterans.
  • Many Veterans who deployed after 1990 qualify.

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ER Services

VA Palo Alto Emergency Room
3801 Miranda Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94394

The Palo Alto main campus is the only VA Healthcare facility in the Palo Alto division that has an Emergency Room. None of the clinics have Emergency Rooms.

The VA offers the advice Nurse Line which can be reached at 1-800-455-0057 Ext. 4 and is operated 24 hours.

If you need to speak to a mental health professional call 1-800-273-8255.

If you are having a medical emergency requiring immediate assistance, dial 911.

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Recreation Therapy

VA Palo Alto Health Care System's Mental Health department employ Recreation/Creative arts therapists that help with the following:

  • Psychological Rehabilitation
  • Shared Decision Making
  • Motivation Enhancement Techniques
  • Substance Abuse
  • And Multitude of Additional Services

Programs supported by the service include
In-Patient Psychiatry such as:

  • Foundations of Recovery
  • First Step
  • Homeless Veterans Rehabilitation Program

Outpatient Services

  • Addiction, Consultation and Treatment (ACT)
  • Veterans Recovery Center
  • Mental Health Intensive Case Management
  • Menlo Park Mental Health Clinic
  • Monterey Mental Health Clinic

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VA Hospice and Palliative Care

VA Hospice Care

HospiceCare is comfort care provided to you and your family if you have a terminal condition, with less than 6 months to live, and are no longer seeking treatment other than palliative care. Hospice Care can be provided at home, in an outpatient clinic or in an inpatient setting.

VA Palliative Care

Palliative Care offers comfort measures that focus on relief of suffering and control of symptoms so that you can carry out day-to-day activities, and do what is most important to you – like visiting your grandchildren in another state.

Palliative Care focuses on improving your quality of life – in your body, mind and spirit. It can be combined with your treatment and Palliative Care can be started at any time, and may be provided throughout the course of the illness.

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