Montana VA Expands Behavioral Health Care to Serve Highly Rural Veterans

HELENA – Scheduling and getting to a doctor can be difficult for anyone, and for veterans they sometimes face obstacles and live far away from a VA Facility.   

The Montana VA Health Care System has launched a new program called iFrontier. This program will provide real-time behavioral health services to the most highly rural communities in the Treasure State.   

iFrontier will allow veterans to follow up with a doctor in the comfort of their own home or really wherever they are.  

According to Dr. Joel Mitchell, the Director of Integrated Behavioral Medicine, the program has been able to tap into and to leverage existing telo-technology that the Montana VA has already had in their clinics. Additionally, a pilot expansion has begun to include home-based behavioral health services via VA Video Connect to veterans who are unable to travel to one of the Montana VA’s clinic locations.  

“What we can utilize VA Video Connect and what we’ve started to do in iFrontier is after that initial appointment were able to follow up with the veteran in the comfort of their own home using the VA Video Connect for follow up care so that they don’t have to keep going back to that clinic each time,” says Dr. Mitchell. 

Dr. Mitchell says being able to have that need identified and have the nursing staff send a message to iFroniter and have the veteran seen that day and being able to catch folks who have otherwise gone unseen has been remarkable.   

Utilizing the iFrontier program, the Montana VA Health Care System now has integrated behavioral health and primary care teams across all sites of care in Montana.  

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