Data Show More Veterans Using Telehealth During COVID-19 Crisis
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- For the more than 300,000 veterans living in the Commonwealth, the coronavirus pandemic has hindered in-person doctor visits, and many are turning to telehealth.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said use of video appointments has skyrocketed and reported more than 2 million prescriptions were refilled online in March alone - the most in a single month. Physician and Chief Officer for the VA's Office of Connected Care Neil Evans said he expects the trend to continue.
"We've seen an eightfold increase in the use of our video visits to the home, through what we call the VA video connect platform," Evans said.
Last week, U.S. Senate lawmakers sent a letter urging the Defense Department's Health Agency to expand telehealth coverage under TRICARE, the military's health care program, after reports found veterans were encountering difficulties accessing telehealth for mental-health care during the pandemic.
Evans urged vets, especially those living in rural areas, to consider telehealth for addressing health concerns.
"For veterans in the state of Kentucky, in order to engage with telehealth, I would encourage them to just connect with their local VA facility," he said. "Call the regular phone number they would call and they can ask about a video visit or a telehealth visit, or to connect with their primary-care provider, specialty provider or mental-health provider."
Last year, more than 9,000 veterans across the country received a portion of their care through telehealth.
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