Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Self-Medication Program (SMP)

Air National Guard: Retired

Benefit Fact Sheet

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Self-Medication Programs (SMP) are structured training programs for Veterans Health Administration (VHA) patients to learn and practice skills for the self-management of their prescribed medications. SMPs teach patients to assume responsibility for requesting refills, storage, identification, and administration of their prescribed medication(s).


Veterans who are patients in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital, residential, or community-based bed sections may be eligible for participation in the SMP as authorized by the Airman's VA health care provider.

Benefit Highlights

The SMP is designed to teach and monitor self-medication administration, storage and compliance. The VHA considers a patient's knowledge of their medication regimen, the ability to self-administer, and demonstrated compliance with medication regimen important aspects of self-care.

Medication for use in the SMP requires a licensed health care provider to review and assess the patient's medication regimen and to document, in thePharmacist counting out a prescription patient's electronic medical record, the regimen approved for self-medication. Intravenous or injection therapy will not be permitted in the SMP; the exception being insulin. Any additional injectable medication must be approved in local medical center policy.

Patients' self-medication status can change throughout their treatment as they develop the skills necessary to manage their own medications or when closer supervision is warranted.

Level of Independence . Each patient accepted into the SMP must be categorized as either "dependent" (Level I), "semi-independent" (Level II), or "independent" (Level III) with regard to medication administration.

  • Dependent Patient (Level I) refers to the patient who requires additional education and varying levels of medication monitoring with the direct involvement of nursing personnel for dispensing, observing and documenting each self-administered medication.

  • Semi-Independent Patient (Level II) refers to the patient who requires periodic reviews and documentation by professional staff of the patient's self-medication practices, including visual counts of the patient's medications, and clinical observations of patient responses.

  • Independent Patient (Level III) refers to the patients who understand medication therapy management, potential drug side effects and are capable of assuming complete responsibility for the storage, security, and self-administration of their medications.

Additional Information

For more information regarding VHA SMP, please refer to the VHA Handbook 1108.3 maintained by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA):   

Document Review Date: 22 September 2020