VA encourages use of telehealth to prevent COVID-19

Increased accessibility at VA or in-network community urgent care clinics


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VA has good news for Veterans who need same-day urgent care for a minor illness or injury during the coronavirus pandemic: VA and its in-network community urgent care clinics are rapidly adapting their care practices to include video and phone options to ensure Veterans have access to their providers, while reducing potential exposure.

Veterans who need urgent care may have the option to use telehealth (phone- or video-based visits) instead of in-person visits at VA or in-network community clinics. Telehealth allows Veterans to conveniently access health care at home while reducing their exposure to COVID-19. Veterans have increased use of phone or video appointments by more than 800% in a matter of weeks.

Pictured above: Veteran Jim Doray and Paulina Doray join a VA Video Connect session from their home.

Some VA or community urgent care clinics may be affected by closures, limited services, quarantining or social distancing based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health department guidelines.

Call to ask about options

For safety, Veterans should call before visiting any VA or community urgent care clinic. They should ask about options to receive care virtually by phone or video.

Veterans can find same-day care locations by using the VA facility locator and selecting “urgent care” under facility type. Then select “community providers” as the service type. Alternatively, Veterans can find an in-network urgent care clinic by contacting their local VA medical facility. They also can call the VHA Office of Community Care National Contact Center at 877-881-7618.

Veterans who have care currently scheduled can continue to use this care as available and clinically appropriate. Sometimes VA’s community partners are not able to provide urgent and time-sensitive care. When that happens, VA will coordinate care and absorb that need at one of the VA medical facilities.

Through this unified system, VA continues to deliver care at the VA and in the community. We will see Veterans through this time of challenge.


Will Ackerman is a strategic communication specialist with the VHA Office of Community Care and a retired U.S. Air Force Veteran.

Author

VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

  1. Robert Ross Blanchard    

    Oh and nearest VA Urgent care to me is 313 miles away… so I got use banner urgent care…

  2. Robert Ross Blanchard    

    Bah I can’t even get the phone stuff to work with my PCP. I just had to give up and use local Urgent Care for everything. Docs don’t seem to really care at PHZ VA, well my mental health one does, but the docs for physical stuff, well they are enjoying the va lockdowns and working from home. I mean I had to do 10 hurdles just to be told I had an ear infection, it got worst went to urgent care they said no sign at all, and its likely allergies messing up my sinuses, and they did a covid 19 test. It was negative but at least they actually tried to rule things out while my PCP well he just told me to call the triage nurse hotline…

  3. Thomas Richard Swanson    

    A great big shout-out and thank you to our outstanding President Donald Trump for helping the VA to achieve their goals and to take care of the Warriors of the United States

  4. Thomas Upstill    

    My VA here in Indianapolis, won’t let me do tella health with my primary (who just looks at computer asking questions). They won’t let me use a local lab that usually only has 1-2 people in it. Not hundreds like the VA.
    My mother lives with me and is a double lung transplant survivor. Which means one of most to get sick. This VA really likes to give me a hard time. I’m a chronic pain suffering patient, and have been told that I’m lucky he gives me what he does. Another story.
    Thanks for letting me add.

    1. Jerry H    

      Just got back from Indy and could not believe they had closed off 10th St parking forcing us to park in the very dark garage. Then herded us like children into lanes along the clinic hallway, of course with the requirement for masks regardless of underlying health conditions that prohibit them. Who makes these insane decisions there?

  5. George Robert Fox    

    I have been a Florida resident, since retiring, for about Fifteen years. I have private insurance that allows me to go to any doctor or Hospital in the world. The first few years I was in Florida Pain Care with poor results and a friend referred me to the VA. Within days I was in the system and have been a patient at Haley Hospital; the Annex; and the new facility at Riverview. At all locations I HAVE NEVER BEEN TREATED BETTER IN MY LIFE ! Thank You !

  6. Bruce Phillips    

    Thanks for the update and keep me posted thank you

  7. Chriss Dickman    

    Notify FBI and VA. Next. call your local office on aging in your town or county depending on your age.
    Then notify the SSA with any facts that you have regarding the incident, even though you feel they are the culprits in the instance. Obtain information regarding re-establishing your account and what to do next. If you have a SSA Users Guide to Benefits
    should have information as to what to do in this case.

  8. Cynthia Shelton210    

    My benefits are gone identity theft. SSA gave away my ssn.

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