VA now reminds Veterans of their appointments by text


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To increase access to health care for all Veterans, VA has created VEText, an interactive mobile solution to remind Veterans of upcoming appointments via text messaging.

More than 9 million VA health care appointments are missed each year.

VEText has sent appointment reminders to more than five million Veterans

The goal is to offer a quick and easy way to confirm or cancel appointments and then schedule another Veteran into that time slot if possible. Just since the program began in March, the national no-show rate has declined from 13.68 percent to 12.22 percent.

Beginning October 1, Veterans throughout the nation will be receiving interactive VEText appointment reminders on their mobile devices. Most are receiving the reminders now.

Make sure your VA medical center has your current cell phone number

Every Veteran with a cell phone number listed in their health record is automatically enrolled in the program, so it is very important for Veterans to ensure that your local medical center has your current phone numbers.

Veterans may update their phone numbers during check-in at their next appointment, or use the self-service kiosks located throughout our facilities.

The first text message reminder will be sent seven days before the appointment and a second reminder text message will be sent two days day before the appointment. The timing/frequency of the reminders may vary by facility.

Veterans should review the date and time of each appointment and use the prompts provided in the message to either confirm or cancel the appointment. Veterans with multiple appointments on the same day will receive multiple reminders.

As of May 31, 2018, VEText has sent appointment reminders to more than five million unique Veterans with over 9 million messages exchanged. Also, the system has allowed 134,000 appointments to be cancelled via a simple response, creating an open slot for another Veteran and possibly preventing a no-show.

Don’t text? You can opt out.

The VEText system also has an easy to use opt-out process for Veterans who do not want to use the text messaging reminders. Simply reply to the text message with “STOP.” Additionally, all appointment reminder messages contain instructions on how to end the message delivery. If you want to restart the text message appointment reminders, simply text “START” to a previous reminder message and service will resume.

VEText works for VA health care appointments only and the text messages do not currently replace the letters and automated phone calls Veterans already receive for appointment reminders.

For more information please visit our VEText FAQ’s page: https://www.va.gov/HEALTH/vetext_faqs.asp

Text messaging rates may apply depending on your individual cell phone plan.


Deanna Callahan is the VEText Program Manager for the VHA Office of Veterans Access to Care.Deanna Callahan is the VEText Program Manager for the VHA Office of Veterans Access to Care.

 

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Comments

  1. Ivan Wiest    

    How do I sign up for Text message for my
    medical appointments at the VA??

    1. William. Hause    

      I am very interested in this advantage

      1. Maria Adebola    

        Every Veteran with a cell phone number listed in their health record is automatically enrolled in the VEText program, so it is very important to ensure that your local medical center has your current phone numbers. Please contact your local facility or VEText FAQ’s page for more information: https://www.va.gov/HEALTH/vetext_faqs.asp.

    2. Bonita Bappe    

      Like to be reminded of appointmentsThanks

      1. Maria Adebola    

        To receive appointment reminder through VEText, make sure your VA medical center has your current cell phone number. You may update your phone number during check-in at your next appointment, or use the self-service kiosks located throughout our facilities. You may also contact your local facility for assistance with this or visit the VEText FAQ’s page for more information: https://www.va.gov/HEALTH/vetext_faqs.asp.

    3. Maria Adebola    

      This system automatically enrolls you into VEText based on the phone information already on file in our system. Make sure your VA medical center has your current cell phone number. You may update your phone number during check-in at your next appointment, or use the self-service kiosks located throughout our facilities. You may also contact your local facility for assistance with this or visit the VEText FAQ’s page for more information: https://www.va.gov/HEALTH/vetext_faqs.asp.

    4. Robert DeAntonis    

      So I have to wait until my next VA appt and can’t update any other way? You should be able to at least go into MyHealtheVet and perform this task and not wait for a future appt.

    5. John Bautista    

      Hi Ivan: Just read the article and it says you will be automatically enrolled if you have a cell number on file with the VA. If not; you should call their business office and update. Take care. A fellow Vet 🙂

  2. Anthony J. Burgos    

    How do I sign up for Text message for my
    medical appointments at the VA??

    1. Maria Adebola    

      To receive appointment reminders through VEText, make sure your VA medical center has your current cell phone number. You may update your phone number during check-in at your next appointment, or use the self-service kiosks located throughout our facilities. You may also contact your local facility for assistance with this or visit the VEText FAQ’s page for more information: https://www.va.gov/HEALTH/vetext_faqs.asp.

    2. Maria Adebola    

      To receive appointment reminder through VEText, make sure your VA medical center has your current cell phone number. You may update your phone number during check-in at your next appointment, or use the self-service kiosks located throughout our facilities. You may also contact your local facility for assistance with this or visit the VEText FAQ’s page for more information: https://www.va.gov/HEALTH/vetext_faqs.asp.

  3. David Howshall    

    My current phone number is [redacted]

    1. Megan Moloney    

      Please contact your local facility or update your phone numbers online. Unfortunately, our public affairs team does not have access to those records.

    1. Maria Adebola    

      You should have automatically been enrolled into VEText based on the cell phone number listed in your health record. Make sure your VA medical center has your current cell phone number. You can update your phone number during check-in at your next appointment, or use the self-service kiosks located throughout our facilities. You may also contact your local facility for assistance with this or visit the VEText FAQ’s page for more information: https://www.va.gov/HEALTH/vetext_faqs.asp.

  4. Thomas Johnson    

    Good things are now showing up!!!!!

  5. Kenneth C Nesselrotte    

    How do I sign up for Vettex messaging concerning appointments?

    1. Maria Adebola    

      You should have automatically been enrolled into VEText based on the cell phone number listed in your health record. Make sure your VA medical center has your current cell phone number. You can update your phone number during check-in at your next appointment, or use the self-service kiosks located throughout our facilities. You may also contact your local facility for assistance with this or visit the VEText FAQ’s page for more information: https://www.va.gov/HEALTH/vetext_faqs.asp.

  6. N    

    Confusing…not sure on how to proceed.

    1. Maria Adebola    

      To receive appointment reminders through VEText, make sure your VA medical center has your current cell phone number. You may update your phone number during check-in at your next appointment, or use the self-service kiosks located throughout our facilities. You may also contact your local facility for assistance with this or visit the VEText FAQ’s page for more information: https://www.va.gov/HEALTH/vetext_faqs.asp.

  7. William Inverso    

    Waiting for the pharmacy all day to call is not fair at all. Even a disabled vet has a life. It would be great to have someone who deals with this situation look into this situation. A time gap of 4 hours is fine with me. I do realize I’m not the only vet in the world. Thank you.

    1. Maria Adebola    

      William, where you informed by the pharmacy you would receive a call from them? Have they reached out to you yet? Which VA pharmacy is this?

  8. Mauricio Cerrillo    

    my cell phone is [redacted], please use this for txt messages

    1. Megan Moloney    

      Please contact your local facility or update your phone numbers online. Unfortunately, our public affairs team does not have access to those records.

  9. ROBERT A. VOZEY    

    HOW DO I SIGN UP FOR TEXT MESSAGING?

    1. Maria Adebola    

      This system automatically enrolls you into VEText based on the phone information already on file in our system. Make sure your VA medical center has your current cell phone number. You may update your phone number during check-in at your next appointment, or use the self-service kiosks located throughout our facilities. You may also contact your local facility for assistance with this or visit the VEText FAQ’s page for more information: https://www.va.gov/HEALTH/vetext_faqs.asp.

  10. Richard Buchholz    

    How do I sign up for text messaging from medical appointments at the VA

    1. Maria Adebola    

      Richard, to receive appointment reminders through VEText, make sure your VA medical center has your current cell phone number. You may update your phone number during check-in at your next appointment, or use the self-service kiosks located throughout our facilities. You may also contact your local facility for assistance with this or visit the VEText FAQ’s page for more information: https://www.va.gov/HEALTH/vetext_faqs.asp.

  11. David Lawrence McSpadden, Sr.    

    David Lawrence McSpadden, Sr

    [redacted]

    1. Megan Moloney    

      Mr. McSpadden,

      Please contact your local facility or update your phone numbers online. Unfortunately, our public affairs team does not have access to those records.

  12. James miller    

    Yes please enroll me in text msg appointments.

    1. Maria Adebola    

      James, to receive appointment reminders through VEText, make sure your VA medical center has your current cell phone number. You may update your phone number during check-in at your next appointment, or use the self-service kiosks located throughout our facilities. You may also contact your local facility for assistance with this or visit the VEText FAQ’s page for more information: https://www.va.gov/HEALTH/vetext_faqs.asp.

  13. LTC RODNEY J. SCHULZ SR.    

    My current cell phone number:
    [redacted]

    1. Megan Moloney    

      Mr. Schulz,

      Please contact your local facility or update your phone numbers online. Unfortunately, our public affairs team does not have access to those records.

  14. Gerald L Marvel    

    My wife’s cell phone is getting my appt reminders. [redacted] Please change the nbr on file to my nbr. Thank you, Gerald

    1. Megan Moloney    

      Mr. Marvel,

      Please contact your local facility or update your phone numbers online. Unfortunately, our public affairs team does not have access to those records.

    1. Maria Adebola    

      Stephen, to receive appointment reminders through VEText, make sure your VA medical center has your current cell phone number. You may update your phone number during check-in at your next appointment, or use the self-service kiosks located throughout our facilities. You may also contact your local facility for assistance with this or visit the VEText FAQ’s page for more information: https://www.va.gov/HEALTH/vetext_faqs.asp.

  15. Ivan Wiest    

    How do I sign up for E-mail message for
    my appointments ?

    1. Maria Adebola    

      Ivan, you can receive an Email Reminder about your appointment by setting your Preferences in your My HealtheVet account. Here’s additional information to set up your email notification https://www.myhealth.va.gov/mhv-portal-web/va-appointments-faqs#appointmentnotification. If you need assistance, please call the My HealtheVet Help Desk at 1-877-327-0022 or visit http://www.myhealth.va.gov and select “Contact” in the upper right corner to submit feedback online.

  16. David W Sunkle    

    I DO NOT TEXT. BUT I WOULD LIKE E=MAIL REMINDER’S. DAVID W. SUNKLE.

  17. Robert DeAntonis    

    So I have to wait until my next VA appt and can’t update any other way? You should be able to at least go into MyHealtheVet and perform this task and not wait for a future appt.

  18. WestEndAl    

    Like many patient-facing VA technology programs, this reminder feature is nice, but incomplete. The reminders ought to be able to include the clinic name and location (floor number, for example) of clinics for upcoming appointments.

  19. Paul Heider    

    I don’t text. Does this mean that I will not be getting reminders? Can I get a reminder through email or the Secure Messaging system that is already there? Thanks.

  20. John L. Carcano    

    Looks real good….something we all need.

  21. Paul Heider    

    My phone doesn’t text. Will I still get notifications by paper mail, phone calls, or secure messaging instead?

  22. Heather Dingley    

    Great! I’ve already been notified by text. I usually get recorded messgaes by phone, too. I’ll take all the reminders I can get!

  23. Richard G Kensinger    

    I am a retired clinical psychologist and AF medic during the Vietnam Conflict. For awhile I volunteered at our local VA Center that covers 14 counties. I was making personal calls to Vets as the third tier of reminders and 24 hours before their appt. I was to follow a brief script of what to say end ing w/ “have a great day”. When i actually made direct contact w/ a peer I would engage them in a chat about their MOS, where they were stationed, etc. In time i got criticized for this, became disillusioned and quit. Almost all of the Vets I contacted are diagnosed w/ PTSD and SUD. The personalized touch in my clinical and personal view is the best approach to tretment engagement.
    Rich, MSW

  24. Justin French Rayl    

    My mobile phone tends to self-destruct because even as a civilian I tend to be unable to be gentle with my digital gear. Because of this sometimes my mobile phone can be offline for anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Is there a way around this since I do not have a landline and have unusual MVNO APN settings in my mobile handsets.

  25. Earl F Loving jr    

    I need a new Veterans Choice Card.
    Earl F Loving, Jr
    (personal information redacted)

  26. Timothy Ard    

    This is so 1980’s bag phone or early 1990’s flip phone debut. Really is this the best the VA can do is throw us all back 20 to 30 years? Why the pre feature phone app’s?

  27. Timothy Ard    

    Oh my goodness, another app that is way off point. This is so 1980’s bag phone or 1990’s flip phone. In other words way to far behind. Is this the best the VA could do? To shove out pre feature phone apps? Why not build an app to work on the phone replacements instead? This way maybe we could reduce the no show down to the 1 to 2 percent no show that medical treatment facilities have that use modern technology. Whoever is deciding on this type of VA program really needs to step up their game. I am sure the ones that are just running and managing the program are doing the best they can with what is being shoveled their way. However it would be nice to see one of this type of program that does not through us back into the 1970’s or 80’s during the infancy of modern technology.

  28. Tina Tillert    

    I have already gotten a reminder. I think it is a great idea! Thank you!

  29. Herman S Hawkins    

    interested in being text concerning my medical appointments

  30. Robert Glenn Copeland    

    Vetext message ends with this sentence, “Send ‘STOP’ to end messages.”
    I interpreted that to mean the current reminder, not to end all future reminders.
    The sentence could more clearly be worded, “If you wish to discontinue receiving
    text appointment reminders, reply ‘STOP’ to this text message.”

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