Featured: Formation of Indiana Veterans Behavioral Health Network

Nov 19, 2014 10:37 AM
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Formation of Indiana Veterans Behavioral Health Network 

Through grant funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Indiana Veterans Behavioral Health Network (IVBHN) was formed in 2010. It established a partnership with Affiliated Service Providers of Indiana, Inc. (ASPIN) and the Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis which facilitated the establishment of five rural telehealth connections with Roudebush; thus enabling rural veterans to receive behavioral health counseling services from their VA clinicians at locations within rural community mental health centers. Additional partners included the Indiana National Guard, the Indiana Rural Health Association, the Purdue Military Family Research Institute, the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs, the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction, the Veterans Integrated Service Network 11 (VISN11), and the Indiana Department of Labor. In addition, six ASPIN members served as host sites.

Resources Used

Equipment was initially purchased and installed at five different rural Indiana communities: Bloomfield (Hamilton Center), Crawfordsville (Wabash Valley), Logansport (Four County Counseling Center), Rushville (Centerstone) and Warsaw (Bowen Center). New policies and procedures were developed to ensure streamlined and safe access for the veterans served. As a result of the success of the IVBHN tele-behavioral health network, Roudebush was awarded an additional $900,000 pilot project to install tele-health units in three new locations: Columbus (Centerstone), Bedford (Centerstone), and Kokomo (Community Howard), and to support more therapists for the program. This pilot project stemmed from an Executive Order issued August 31, 2012, in which President Barak Obama directed the VA, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Defense work together to find ways to collaborate with community-based providers to assist veterans with easier access to behavioral health services.


Developing a shared understanding of and commitment to program goals between the two principal organizations, ASPIN and Roudebush VA Medical Center proceeded the actual grant funding. Having relationships with decision-makers was essential.

Lessons Learned

The cultures of the VA and civilian organizations differ; therefore, communication between trusted representatives is very important. Finding the right people to prod systems was very helpful. Turnover and retraining are expected issues.


As of the end of the grant period (April 30, 2014), the IVBHN tele-behavioral health network had 328 completed visits. Veterans using the tele-behavioral health sites saved 35,218 driving miles by attending appointments in their home communities compared to traveling by car to the Roudebush VA in Indianapolis. This represents over 704 hours of drive time. At Indiana’s current median wage of $15.26, the savings in drive time accounts for $10,749. Additionally at the federal mileage reimbursement rate ($0.555 for 2012, $0.565 for 2013 and $0.56 for 2014), the cost savings for miles driven is $19,834. With 328 completed, visits the IVBHN network has realized a cost saving for veterans and their families in drive time and mileage of $30,583.

In addition to the cost savings to veterans for drive time and mileage, IVBHN partners have been able to bill facility fees to the VA for the use of the tele-behavioral health services. During the second grant year, the total facility fees were $13,618. For the third grant year, the facility fees billed were $21,651. The total facility fees billed for the grant were $35,271. The ability to bill facility fees helps to sustain the IVBHN. The network continues to serve veterans Monday through Friday at eight locations. More information is available at

ASPIN is a 501 (c) 3 not for profit network that operates five major services lines: third party contract administration, professional training, grants management, consumer education and workforce development, and technical assistance. The mission of ASPIN is to provide innovative educational programs, resource management, program development and network management in collaboration with all healthcare entities to address health disparities and whole health management.


Kathy Cook
Ph: 317-471-1890

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