Minneapolis VA Health Care System
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Veteran Care
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VHA) is committed to providing quality care to all Veterans including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Veterans. Excellent care has no boundaries.
Minneapolis VA Health Care System seeks to promote the health, welfare, and dignity of LGBT Veterans and their families. We are committed to making sensitive and high quality health care accessible. Our policies and practices focus on ensuring a safe, welcoming, and affirmative environment of care for LGBT Veterans. Our employees receive training in clinically competent care that is responsive to the unique needs of LGBT Veterans.
Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation has awarded the staff of Minneapolis VAHCS the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) Equality Leader Status every year since 2013!
LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator
To address LGBT related health care issues or concerns, please contact:
Nicole Fisher, LICSW
Minneapolis VA LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator
Paul Portenlänger, MSN, APRN, CRNA
Minneapolis VA LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator
General medical services and specialty care clinics
To schedule an appointment with Primary Care, contact:
The Call Center
local 612-467-1100 or
toll-free 1-866-414-5058 ext. 1100
Affirmative Psychotherapy Services
Our Mental Health Service Line is committed to providing individual therapy for Veterans identifying as LGBT. Veterans who are not sure about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity may find therapy helpful. Some Veterans may want to learn more about available gender transition services and supports. For more information related to mental health services and to schedule an appointment, contact Mental Health Intake at 612-467-1921.
Though not a requirement, psychotherapy is recommended for individuals exploring sexual orientation, gender identity and/or pursuing gender transition. Psychotherapy can provide a setting in which individuals can explore options for identity and expression and navigate challenges (e.g., coming out, finding safe spaces, building community). Psychotherapy can also address mental health symptoms that may impede progress toward identity goals. To request individual therapy support and you are not already connected to the mental health service line, call Mental Health Intake at 612-467-1921.
Relationship difficulties can be present in any coupling, and LGBT couples face unique challenges. Couple/family therapy is available to help navigate difficulties within your relationship (e.g., coming out, building support, parenting, gender transition, etc.). If you already have a mental health treatment coordinator, ask them to refer you to couples therapy. If you do not have a mental health treatment coordinator you will first need to get connected with mental health services. Please call Mental Health Intake at 612-467-1921 and after an initial intake appointment ask for a referral for couple/family services.
Transgender Support Groups
A support group for transgender/non-binary Veterans meets once a month. If you want more information about the group, please talk with your outpatient mental health provider. If you are interested in attending this group, request that your mental health provider contact staff psychologist, Rebecca Stinson, PhD, LP, who facilitates the group.
Voice and Communication Training
Voice and communication training is available through our speech pathology department. Focus of training includes work on verbal and non-verbal aspects of communication. To set up an initial session please request a speech pathology consult from your primary provider within the VA. Once the consult is placed our medical support staff will contact you to set up an appointment.
For more information about additional services, please refer to the Transgender/Gender Non-Conforming/Non-binary Veteran’s Guide: Navigating the Minneapolis VA
Our non-discrimination policy has specific language that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity (actual and perceived).
|| Patient Rights & Responsibilities ||
Minneapolis VA Health Care System allows for a same-sex partner, family member, friend, or other individual to be present with the patient for emotional support during the course of their stay. Same-sex partners are recognized as the patient’s family, even if the partners are not legally married.
|| Family and Visitor Rights & Responsibilities ||
Patients may designate any person as a decision-maker for care should you become unable to make these decisions yourself. This includes designating a same-sex partner as a surrogate decision maker. Advance directive agents are chosen by the Veteran and do not need to be biologically related.
|| Advance Directives ||
Documentation in Medical Records:
Minneapolis VA Health Care System maintains the confidentiality of information about sexual orientation and sexual behavior, as it does with all other private health information.
Changing Your Name and/or Gender in Your Medical Record:
Your name in the medical record will reflect your legal name. The gender in your medical record should reflect your self-identified gender. You have the right to request that name and gender are updated as appropriate. There are established procedures for changing your name and/or gender with the VA Privacy Officer. If you would like a copy of the fact sheet on how to change your name and/or gender in CPRS, please let your health care provider know so they can obtain a copy for you. If you have any questions, please contact the LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator. Requests can be mailed or faxed, but be sure to provide all required documentation.
Mail: Minneapolis VA Medical Center
Enrollment & Eligibility(17A1)
One Veterans Drive,
Minneapolis MN 55417
Individuals' Request for a Copy of Their Own Health Information
VA Form 10-5345a
- Community Resources for Trans* Veterans
- Minneapolis VA LGBT Program Website
- LGBT Caregivers - This presentation focuses attention on the unique experience and challenges of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Veterans and their LGBT Caregivers
- *Transgender American Veteran Association
- *OutServe Service Members Legal Defense Network
- *American Veterans for Equal Rights
- *National Center for Transgender Equality
- *SAGE - Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders
- *Human Rights Campaign
- *OutFront Minnesota
- *Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition
- *Rainbow Health Initiative Minneapolis
- *Out & Sober Minnesota
- *PFLAG Twin Cities
- *Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund
- *Information for Transgender Travelers from the TSA
LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator (VCC) Program
As of March 2016, each VA facility has a local LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator (VCC) who is appointed by their facility leadership. The VCC is responsible for promoting best practices for serving LGBT Veterans and connecting LGBT Veterans to services.
To learn important information about the unique health risks of LGBT Veterans, download these relevant fact sheets. Here you can also find information about relevant services offered by VA.