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Telehealth Ramps Up, Connects Providers and Patients

Halfway through 2020, VA has far surpassed last year’s total number of telehealth encounters, allowing them to provide better continuity of care to Veterans.
By Contributing Authors
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There’s no doubt about it — VA will set an agency record for telehealth care in 2020.

Veterans attend about 25,000 telehealth video appointments each day, a 1,000% increase from 2019. VA already surpassed last year’s number of telehealth encounters by 7 million.

Because VA already had robust telehealth infrastructure in place — with nearly two-thirds of primary care and mental health providers having already used VA Video Connect to see patients — providers quickly ramped up telehealth capabilities to meet increased demand.

Making care connections

Telehealth can benefit Veterans, particularly those who find it difficult to travel or the one in four who live in rural areas far from care centers.

“VA is committed to offering Veterans the health care they deserve, whenever and wherever they need it,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie in November 2019.

Thanks to telehealth, VA providers have been able to make a difference in the lives of patients like Daryll Martin, a Veteran with high blood pressure who is unable to drive or use public transportation due to a history of narcolepsy.

Telehealth care coordinator Jasmine Pace monitored Martin’s blood pressure remotely. She then sent nurses to his home to evaluate him and help sort his medications.

“They went through every single one of his pills and as soon as he started to take his medicines his numbers came down immediately,” Pace said.

“As far as I’m concerned, telehealth saved my life,” Martin said. “Telehealth stepped up. I’m very fortunate, and very grateful for them.”

Veteran patients have been relieved to be able to maintain continuity of care and most have not had trouble adjusting to the new technology, according to Kimberly Braswell, a nurse practitioner in the cardiology unit at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, Florida. Her oldest patient using telehealth is 99 years old.

“You can see the Veterans’ relief and happiness,” she said. “They can connect to their providers and have their issues addressed without interrupting their care. It’s one thing to talk over the phone, but making that face-to-face connection and being able to see their provider on video increases Veterans’ level of confidence with their care.”

 

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Be an innovator

VA is always looking for ways to improve care for the nation’s Veterans, whether it’s expanding telehealth, researching a new treatment or just streamlining a process. VA encourages employees to be key players in a culture of innovation.

In addition to a supportive work environment and a rewarding mission of serving heroes, employees enjoy competitive pay and unbeatable benefits. These include 36-49 days of paid time off per year. There’s also access to a range of premium-paid health insurance plans and robust retirement plans.

Other perks that come with choosing a VA career include:

  • Flexible work schedules and shifts.
  • Diversity and inclusion policies and programs.
  • Leadership development and mentoring programs.
  • Career training and enhancement opportunities.
  • A smoke/drug-free workplace.
  • On-site child care centers at select facilities and child care subsidies.

Work at VA

Consider joining an organization that’s committed to high-quality care through innovation.

 

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2020-07-31T12:08:45-04:00
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