Obtaining a New Referral From the VHA for Community Care

Thursday, January 2 2020

If you’re a veteran seeking a new referral from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) for Community Care, the following steps can guide you through the process:

Step 1: Schedule an appointment with your VHA primary care provider (PCP)

Schedule an appointment with your PCP’s office to discuss and request a new referral for mental health services. We recommend you reach out to your VHA PCP or Nurse by sending them a message on MyHealthVet requesting this appointment.

Step 2: Discuss options with your VHA PCP

During your appointment with your PCP, explain what your specific mental health needs are and why you believe Community Care Network (CCN) might be an appropriate fit for your unique situation. The Mission Act is a wonderful reference to understand what might qualify you for the CCN. Your PCP will evaluate your situation with you and decide if the CCN is appropriate based on VHA guidelines and eligibility criteria. They may also provide alternative treatment options and provide guidance on next steps.

Step 3: Request a new referral

If your PCP agrees that a CCN referral is necessary and appropriate, explicitly ask that they submit a referral for you. 

Step 4: Follow up

Once your PCP submits the referral, it is important that you proactively follow up with the Office of Community Care Network to ensure the referral is processed in a timely manner.  You can do this by calling the CCN's Customer Support line is (877) 881-7618. If the CCN representative asks for your preference for a CCN provider, you may request that they send your referral to SonderMind if you feel like we might be an appropriate fit. We also highly recommend you ask the representative for key information regarding your referral, such as the referral number (ie VA0012345678), referral start and end dates. You should record this information somewhere you will not forget it.

Step 5: Coordinate your first session with the CCN provider

Once your referral is approved, you’ll receive information about your assigned Community Care provider. Oftentimes the VHA will both call you with this information and send you a letter with it. If the referral is allocated to SonderMind, we will then reach out via email and text to you to help you select your therapist and schedule your first session.

Step 6: Stay engaged and advocate

Throughout this process, stay engaged and advocate for your health care needs. If you run into any challenges or delays, feel free to  reach out to our VHA Community Care team for assistance, (888) 966-1665. We can provide guidance, address concerns, and help start a smooth transition to Community Care.

These steps are general guidance. Consult with your VHA health care team for specific instructions and support for your unique situation. 

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