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Secure Messaging FAQs

Secure Messaging (General FAQs)


What is Secure Messaging?

Secure Messaging is a secure, web-based message service that allows you to communicate non-urgent, non-emergency health-related information with your VA health care team and other VA staff.

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How will Secure Messaging benefit me?

With Secure Messaging you can:

  • Communicate non-urgent, non-emergency health care issues and concerns with your participating VA health care team

  • Update your VA health care team on your health condition 

  • Request test results and health information

  • Request and manage VA appointments 

  • Ask administrative questions 

  • Receive educational material from the Veterans Health Library 

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How do I participate in Secure Messaging?

First, talk to your VA health care provider to determine if they participate in Secure Messaging would be a good way to communicate with them about your health care. If they agree, you may participate in Secure Messaging if you are registered in My HealtheVet with a Premium account.

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How can I access Secure Messaging?

  • You may access Secure Messaging through your My HealtheVet account anywhere there is a computer with Internet access. To access Secure Messaging, sign in to your My HealtheVet Premium account.

  • Under Messages on the homepage dashboard, select the link of the Secure Messaging folder you want to access. You can also access these folders from the Secure Messaging tab at the top of the homepage.

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Can Secure Messaging be used for medical emergencies?

No. If you think you have a medical emergency, we recommend you call 911 immediately. Do not attempt to access emergency care through Secure Messaging. If you are not sure what type of care you need, please contact your local medical clinic or facility.

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How is Secure Messaging different from email?

Secure Messaging is an online service that allows you to send and receive messages from your VA health care team who have chosen to participate in Secure Messaging. You do not have to have an email account to use Secure Messaging. You can access Secure Messaging from your account on My HealtheVet.

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Is my information protected and private?

All of your personal health information is secure, protected, and private.

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Can I attach an electronic file to a Secure Message?

Yes, an electronic file can be attached and sent along with a Secure Message. This is a simple method to share documents and images with your VA health care team or other VA staff (such as medical and administrative assistants).

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Will Secure Messaging be available 24 hours-7 days a week?

You may send a non-urgent, non-emergency message at any time. Your VA health care team should respond to your message(s) within 3 business days. Business days are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Business days do not include after hours, weekends, or federal holidays.

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What should I do if I do not get a response from my health care team in 3 federal business days?

If you do not receive a response to your message in 3 federal business days, contact your VA health care team by telephone.

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How do I know if my VA provider participates in Secure Messaging?

Ask your VA health care team to if they are participating.

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Who will have access to and who will respond to my messages?

Only members of your VA health care team and other VA staff (such as medical and administrative assistants) will access and respond to your messages. 

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Can I send a message to more than one member of my VA health care team?

When you send a message, it only goes to your VA health care team and other VA staff (such as medical and administrative assistants). Your message will then be forwarded to the appropriate health care team member to respond. 

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What if I do not understand the information sent by my VA health care team?

If you do not understand the information in the message from your health care team member, you can reply to the message asking for another explanation.

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What if the health care team does not understand my message?

If your VA health care team does not understand your question they will send you a message asking for more information. They may also contact you by telephone.

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Can I communicate with a non-VA provider through Secure Messaging?

No, Secure Messaging is a way for you to communicate non-urgent, non-emergency health care issues or concerns with your VA health care team. You cannot use Secure Messaging to communicate with a non-VA provider.

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Will my messages become part of my VA medical record?

To provide you with outstanding health care services, your health care team may decide to save some of your messages in your official VA medical record so they can refer to the information at a later date. 

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Can I tell if the message I sent has been read?

You can view a Read Receipt for all messages in the Sent folder. A message that has been opened by your health care team will display READ in the Read Receipt column. 

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Can my ability to use Secure Messaging be taken away?

Participating in Secure Messaging is a service offered to VA patients who are willing to comply with established policies and guidelines. Patients who demonstrate inappropriate communication patterns may have the service taken away.

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Whom do I contact if I have a problem with Secure Messaging?

The My HealtheVet Help Desk will provide you with assistance. You may contact the My HealtheVet Help Desk at the Contact link on the My HealtheVet home page. Or, call us directly at 1-877-327-0022, Monday - Friday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. (Central Time). For TTY, call 1-800-877-8339.

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What additional references are available to me?

The Secure Messaging User Guide provides you with additional information.

Your health care team can also provide you with information.

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What are the available features in Secure Messaging?

Secure Messaging opens to your Inbox. From the Inbox, you can do several things. You can:

  • Open and reply to a message

  • Compose a new message

  • Add an attachment to a new message

  • Search for messages

  • Create your own folder

  • Rename a folder

  • Set various preferences in your account

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What is the Secure Messaging/Veterans Health Library feature?

The Secure Messaging/Veterans Health Library (VHL) feature allows health care team members to send patient education information by including Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) from the Veterans Health Library via Secure Messaging.

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How do I use the Secure Messaging/Veterans Health Library feature?

If you receive a Secure Message with a link to Veteran Health Library material from your VA health care team, click on the URL and the web page will open in a new window or tab.

Note: Education may be displayed in the Subject field of the Secure Message.

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What is the Secure Messaging blocking feature?

The Secure Messaging blocking feature allows health care team members to block a patient's access to Secure Messaging. It is also possible for health care team members to block a patient's access to specific Triage Groups in Secure Messaging. 

Note: If you have been blocked from using Secure Messaging you will automatically be Opted-Out. You will be required to Opt-In if your access to Secure Messaging is restored.

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How will I know if I have been blocked from using Secure Messaging?

If you have been blocked from using Secure Messaging the following message will display:

"Your provider has restricted your access to Secure Messaging. If you think your access was restricted by mistake and you want to continue using Secure Messaging, contact your My HealtheVet Coordinator at your local VA Medical Center."

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How will I know if I have been blocked from sending new Secure Messages to specific Triage Group(s)?

If you have been blocked from sending a new Secure Message to a specific Triage Group the following message will display:

"You have been restricted from a Triage Group(s).You are unable to send messages to those Triage Groups."

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How will I know if I have been blocked from replying to Secure Messages from specific Triage Group(s)?

If you have been blocked from replying to a Secure Message from a specific Triage Group(s) the following message will display:

"Your access to this Triage Group has been restricted. You cannot send messages to this Triage Group. If you think your access was restricted by mistake, contact your My HealtheVet Coordinator at your local VA Medical Center."

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Updated March 16, 2020