CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently announced that video telehealth appointments to Veterans’ homes increased by more than 1000%, as Veterans increasingly chose virtual care through VA Video Connect during the COVID-19 pandemic. In north central West Virginia, the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center has conducted 792 telehealth appointments between March and June 2020, according to a recent release.
Officials explained that VA Video Connect allows Veterans and their caregivers to meet virtually with their VA care teams on any computer, tablet or mobile device with an internet connection. The meetings allow fir Veterans to still receive the same care that they would in-person, but safer at home. Usage of video to home services has been increasing since mid-March with peak usage reaching more than 29,000 appointments per day, officials said.
According to the release from the VA, it is also taking strides to bridge the digital divide for Veterans who lack the technology or broadband internet connectivity required to participate in VA telehealth services. At the national level, VA is working with strategic partners, through the VA Secretary’s Center of Strategic Partnerships, to increase access to the technology that Veterans need to connect with their VA health care team virtually.
The increase at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center represents about a 980% increase from March to June 2019, officials explained.
“As we near the three-year anniversary of the launch of VA Video Connect, even during these challenging times, VA has and continues to maintain access to high-quality health care for Veterans,” said VA Medical Center Director Glenn Snider. “As the service becomes more popular, VA remains committed to providing a seamless user experience to ensure Veterans have access to care where and when they need it. We encourage patients to speak with their primary care, mental health and specialty treatment provider to see if VVC is a good fit for them.”