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Medical School Information Services Solutions Center

Phone: 734-763-7770
Email: msishelp@umich.edu
Web: Submit a support ticket

VPN - VA Access to va.gov

Staff members working in conjunction with the Veterans Affairs (the VA) hospital and the VA Center for Clinical Management Research (CCMR) are required to access the VA systems securely in order to modify patient data. VA email and network resources can be accessed from any computer or device with a reasonably current web browser via the VA’s Virtual Private Network (VPN) and the Citrix Access Group (CAG). The VA network and Computerized Patient Record System (CPRS) is accessible from home or the University of Michigan campuses only with VPN approval from the VA.

The staff member must be registered with the Department of Veteran Affairs. The member will need to log in to the va.gov site in order to access the VPN/CAG.
Acronym Definitions
CAG Citrix Access Group
CCMR Center for Clinical Management Research
CPRS Computerized Patient Record System
ISO Information Security Officer
Mark Latendresse 734-845-5351 or Jason Brown 734-845-5802
TMS Talent Management System
VA Veterans Affairs
VPN Virtual Private Network
IT Contact

Russell Frame
OI&T Help Desk
VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System
Phone: 734-769-7100 ext. 53500 or 734-845-3500
FAX: 734 845-5987

1-800-877-4328 is the central VPN and Security support desk number.

Overview

It is possible to access VA email and network resources from any computer or device with a reasonably current web browser via the VA’s Virtual Private Network (VPN) and the Citrix Access Group (CAG). Using VPN/CAG, CCMR users access a “virtual” desktop that looks very much like what is seen on a standard VA computer. From this desktop, users can see their VA Outlook email, VISTA, data saved on network drives, and use Office programs, such as Work and Excel, as well as CCMR programs, such as SAS, STATA, and NVIVO. It should be noted, however, that printing is not available through VPN/CAG and files can only be saved to and retrieved from the network. Files and folders cannot be accessed from or saved to the local computer.

Requesting a VA VPN Account

Prior to requesting a VPN account, be aware of the following requirements:

In order to request an account, you must use a workstation on the VA network.

  1. Open a web browser and go to the VPN self-service portal at the following link:
    https://vpnportal.vansoc.va.gov/selfservice
  2. Authenticate using the VA Windows domain credentials and click the Login button.
  3. Begin the application process by clicking the Request VPN Account button.
    If a note appears indicating "your account has been disabled/deleted..." and/or "Contact your ISO...", contact the HSRD/CCMR Computer Support Group, who in turn will contact the ISO office to have the account cleared in order to allow you to re-apply.
  4. In the pop-up window, begin by verifying your user information. Be sure to complete all fields before clicking the Continue button.
    • Phone - Office phone at either VA or University
    • Last 4 digits of SSN or 4 digit pin - Used by VPN Helpdesk to verify identity for support calls.
    • Mail Code - Enter VA mailcode of your service (111 for Medicine, 112 for Surgery, 116 for Mental Health, 114 for Radiology, 114B for Radiation Oncology, 127 for Neurology, etc). CCMR Mail Code is 152.
    • Type of computer… - Enter one of the following options as appropriate: Personal, Government, VA, Third Party
    • Reason for account
      • For clinical users, state that you are requesting remote access for patient continuity and to complete CPRS documentation.
      • For CCMR users, language saying something like the following example should be used. In the past, something as simple as "It will be convenient to get VA email offsite" has been rejected.

        My supervisor / project manager / <whatever> has indicated that I need to be able to access VA data and email from off-site and after hours. All VA data accessed will be through secure VA servers and at no time will it be stored or transported on a local computer, laptop or other device.

  5. For the next step, select a facility, usually the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.
    1. First, select the state in which the facility is located: MI
    2. Then, select the name of the facility: VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System
    3. Click the Continue button.
  6. On the next screen, supply additional access information:
    1. From the Account Type drop-down list, select VA Employee (or Contractor, if appropriate).
    2. The Company drop-down list will automatically default to Department of Veterans Affairs when the Account Type is VA Employee. Contractors must select a company from the list.
    3. The Supervisor field is maintained and populated by the company ISO. Choose the name of the appropriate service chief from the list.
      • CCMR users should select Julie Lowery.
      • Residents and students should select Mary East.
    4. Click the Continue button.
      If your supervisor is not listed, contact your ISO to have the supervisor added before completing the application. In some instances, the facility ISO has chosen to be the only approver of VPN requests. In this case, only “Default Supervisor” will display in the drop-down list. Leave it selected.
  7. On the next screen, finalize the application by marking the certify box and clicking the Submit Request button. After submitting the request, the self-service portal can be used to track the stats of the request.

The online request first goes to the va.gov e-mail address of the selected supervisor for approval and then to the Information Security Officer (Mark Latendresse 845-5351 or Jason Brown 845-5802) for final approval. Once final approval is granted by the ISO, the approval notice will come (in most cases) to your VA email. The self-service portal will also allow the "Welcome Letter" to be viewed and downloaded.

If you do not receive approval within several days, contact the person selected as your supervisor to confirm they have accessed their VA e-mail recently and approved the request.
Once a VPN/CAG account has been set up, you must access it at least once every 90 days; otherwise, the account will be disabled automatically and you will have to re-apply.

Accessing the VA Network

Once you have VPN approval, you can access the VA network through the Citrix Access Gateway (CAG) from any computer, including your VA computer, by simply pointing your browser to the following website and authenticating:
https://vareast.vpn.va.gov/


Notes for CCMR

After receiving access, refer to the document CCMR Connecting Remotely via the Citrix Access Gateway (CAG) on the CCMR sharepoint site or click the following link to download a copy of the file.

To connect, the 12.3.0.8 Citrix online plugin must be installed on the workstation. The website will prompt the user to install the plugin if it is not detected. Installation requires the user to be an administrator on the workstation.

Notes for Residents and Students

If access isn’t working or if you have questions, contact Jack Blansett of VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System OI&T at 845-3704 or Mary East, MD at 845-5180, UM pager #1573.

Access from the University
  1. Using a web browser, go to the gateway website: https://vareast.vpn.va.gov
  2. A page with an all-black background identified as VA Citrix Remote Access will appear. The domain is “vha11\”, so enter *vha11* followed by your regular VA network user name (the one that starts with “vhaann”) in the Domain/Username field. Your password is your regular VA network password.
    If then presented a screen to install Citrix, click the Skip installation or Upgrade Later button.
  3. After authenticating, a screen will appear with two tabs: "Application" and "Content".
    • The Application tab has two folders: "R03-General Applications" and "R03-VISN 11".
      • For the whole desktop, click the R03-General Applications folder and then click Remote Desktop. The application will ask for your network password again.
      • For just CPRS, click the R03-VISN11 folder, then click Ann Arbor, and then click ANN-CPRS.
      • For just Stentor, click the R03-VISN11 folder, then click VISN Applications, and then click V11-Phillips iSite Enterprise.
Home Installation

For home installation of the Citrix client, e-mail the VA ISO’s for a manual:

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