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Tips for Transitioning Psychological Health Care to a New Provider

service member holding package with medicine

Source: U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel

When making the transition from your current psychological health provider to a new provider, it helps to plan ahead. Getting organized can help you reduce gaps in between appointments and stay in charge of your health. To make sure you stay on track, work with your current provider to get a transition plan in place.

You may need to transition to a new health care provider or health care facility if you are transferring to a new command, completing a permanent change of station or separating from the military. For example:

  • Transferring to a new command, military installation or Veterans Affairs (VA) – If you transition your care to a new Military Health System (MHS) or VA provider, the new provider will have access to your military electronic health records.
  • Transferring care to a new civilian provider – If you are separating from the military and transitioning your care to a new provider in the civilian community, you will need to provide your new provider access to your medical records.

When you need to transfer care, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Meet with your current provider to review the progress you have made and discuss goals you can work on with your new provider. Changing providers can be hard since you have relied on the support of this one provider. It is important to continue your care with a new provider you are comfortable with to continue getting the care you need.
  • Sign a release of information form if you are transitioning to a civilian provider, to let your current provider share your medical records with your new provider. You can get the form from your current provider or the Records Office, or your new provider can provide the form. Records may include:
    • Dates of therapy or psychiatric appointments
    • Notes on therapy sessions
    • Details about medication prescriptions and monitoring
    • Test results and progress to date
  • Plan in advance to have enough medication to make sure you do not run out during the period before your first appointment with your new provider. Ask your provider if it is possible to receive a prescription for enough medication to last until your first appointment with your new provider as some medications may not be given for long periods of time.
  • Meet your new provider with an open, positive mind as the transition can be hard. Even with your past records, your new provider may ask you to share details of your concerns and treatment history. Remember to have patience while your new provider learns your history and works with you to develop a care plan that will address your concerns.

Using inTransition

The inTransition program can help make the transition seamless and easy, and is designed to help you make the move between mental health care providers. The program assigns you a mental health coach, and with their assistance, you can focus on meeting your new provider with an open, positive mind. Your coach will:

  • Monitor your transition and motivate you to remain in treatment
  • Help you locate and connect with your new provider
  • Locate local community resources and support groups
  • Find crisis intervention services in your new location
  • Empower you with tools to continue making healthy life choices
  • Stay in contact and be available by phone 24/7

To enroll, call 800-424-4685 and take advantage of the services and assistance of the mental health coach.

Creating and following a transition plan is a key step in maintaining your health while switching your care to a new provider. Remember to have patience while your new provider learns your history and works with you to develop a care plan that will address your needs and goals. For additional support, contact the Psychological Health Resource Center to speak confidentially with a trained health resource consultant 24/7 by calling 866-966-1020, using the Real Warriors Live Chat or emailing resources@dcoeoutreach.org.

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