Charles George VA Medical Center - Asheville, NC
VA LGBT Health Program
In 2012, the Office of Patient Care Services created the LGBT Health Program, which provides policy recommendations, provider-education programs, and clinical services to support personalized, pro-active, patient-driven healthcare for LGBT Veterans. For more information about the LGBT Health Program, email at VALGBTProgram@va.gov.
The Veterans’ Administration policy regarding LGBT Veterans is one of complete nondiscrimination. No employee or program of the VA is allowed to discriminate against LGBT Veterans in provision of service, programming available, competence of providers, or treatment of Veterans. The Charles George VAMC is considered a Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare in the Healthcare Equality Index, established by the Human Rights Campaign.
LGBT Veteran Care Coordinators
In 2016, the VA established the role of LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator, and tasked each VAMC with identifying one or more individuals to fulfill this function. The role of the Veteran Care Coordinators includes
- Serving as an information resource for staff and Veterans, and as a problem-solver and advocate for LGBT Veterans
- Supporting the implementation of national and regional policies related to LGBT Veterans,
- Communicating with facility leadership and other VA programs regarding the needs and concerns of LGBT Veterans
- Providing outreach to the community regarding services for LGBT Veterans, participating in community-based activities and special observances to benefit the LGBT Veteran community
- Supporting LGBT Veterans in accessing appropriate medical and mental-health care
- Enhancing visibility of LGBT Veteran programs and services, and assuring that LGBT Veterans are aware that this facility is a safe and welcoming place in which to receive care
- Maintaining current knowledge of research related to care of LGBT Veterans, and of VA policies and procedures relevant to LGBT Veterans.
The Charles George VAMC has two LGBT Veteran Care Coordinators:
Grayson Chretien, Engineer, Facility Management - You can contact Mr. Chretien by email at Grayson.Chretien@va.gov or by phone at 828-582-0574
Paula Denise Wilbanks, RN, Inpatient Psychiatry -- you can contact Ms. Wilbanks by email at Paula.Wilbanks@va.gov or by phone 828-298-7911 extension 4681; Cell phone: 828-273-0675
Services for LGBT Veterans at the Charles George VAMC
Medical Care - medical care providers at the Charles George VAMC are trained in addressing the medical issues unique to the LGBT Veteran community. For transgender Veterans, the VA provides medical care that addresses medical needs related to both natal and identified gender. The VA provides cross-gender hormone treatment, and both pre- and post-surgical medical care.
Mental health care and evaluation – mental health providers at the Charles George VAMC receive ongoing training in addressing the mental health needs of LGBT Veterans. In addition to psychotherapy (both individual and groups) and medication management, the mental health clinic provides reviews of readiness and appropriateness of cross-gender hormone treatment and gender reassignment surgeries.
Support groups – The Charles George VAMC provides a weekly LGB support group, and a semimonthly Transgender support group. These groups are open to any Veterans who identify as LGB or Transgender, or who are just beginning a journey of self-discovery and would appreciate the information and support that such a group could provide. If you are interested in learning more about these groups, or to be put on the roster for one of the groups, please contact Dr. Marlow (5707).
Other resources – The office of the Patient Advocate is there to support LGBT Veterans who are experiencing discriminatory treatment or who feel that their needs are not being adequately addressed. Veterans who are in the process of name change or gender marker change can learn more about the process for making these changes within the VA medical record system by contacting the Patient Advocate or the VA Privacy Officer. If you need assistance in contacting either of these offices, please contact the LGBT VCC.