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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Need to Talk to Your Doc? Use Email!

January 30, 2012

A new secure, online communication tool called “Secure Messaging” is now available for Veterans at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) through the VA’s MyHealtheVet website at

This new communication tool offers guaranteed response to routine matters and a direct line to MEDVAMC health care providers.

With Secure Messaging, patients have 24-hour access to their Health Care Team, feel more in control of their care, and enjoy personalized attention from their health care providers.

For health care providers, this access improves the patient/provider collaboration by increasing the opportunities for information sharing. More importantly, Secure Messaging minimizes telephone tag, saves time, and uses the VA’s electronic patient record system to streamline recordkeeping.

“Securing Messaging enables my patients to reach me whenever it is convenient for them.  They can send a message before they go to work and when they get home, the answer is waiting. This new tool lets the patient focus on what is important to them, instead of waiting for a phone call or their next appointment,” said Ikedieze Chukwu, M.D., Primary Care physician.  “This is an excellent tool that greatly improves communication with my patients.”

“I can easily contact my patients with lab results, address specific medical concerns, and even refill medications before they arrive for their next appointment,” said Carol Sparks, R.N. “This time-saving feature is great for my patients.”

To take advantage of Secure Messaging, Veterans must register at and begin the In-Person Authentication (IPA) process. This ensures all personal information remains secure over the Internet. To complete the IPA process, Veterans may visit their Primary Care Clinic, the Release of Information Office at MEDVAMC, or any VA outpatient clinic.

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Awarded re-designation for Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Services in 2008, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center serves as the primary health care provider for more than 130,000 Veterans in southeast Texas and provides some of the most complex care within the VA Health Care System. The DeBakey VA employs nearly 3,600 staff and is one of 49 institutions within the prestigious Texas Medical Center, one of the largest health and research centers in the world. The DeBakey VA is home to a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Clinic; Network Polytrauma Center; award-winning Cardiac and General Surgery Program; Liver Transplant Center; Epilepsy and Cancer Centers of Excellence; Substance Abuse Disorder Quality Enhancement Research Initiative; Health Services Research & Development Center of Excellence; Rehabilitation Research of Excellence focusing on mild to moderate traumatic brain injury; Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center; $26.8 million Research and Development Program; and Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Center. The hospital offers sophisticated, cutting-edge technology such as PET/CT imaging, the Evident™ microwave ablation system, a CyberKnife®, a Varian Trilogy linear accelerator, a Philips Wide Bore Computed Tomography Simulator, the OR•Control System, the Abiomed Impella 2.5 catheter-based heart pump, and the Sapien heart valve. For more than 50 years, the DeBakey VA has served as the primary teaching facility for our major affiliate, Baylor College of Medicine and operates the largest VA residency program in the nation with 270 residents. Each academic year, more than 2,179 students are trained through 194 affiliation agreements with institutions of higher learning. Including the outpatient clinics in Beaumont, Conroe, Galveston, Houston, Lufkin, Richmond, and Texas City, MEDVAMC outpatient clinics logged almost 1.3 million outpatient visits in fiscal year 2011. For the latest news releases and information about the MEDVAMC, visit