By Robert A. Kinsler, SSG USA (Ret)
DAV/VFW State Publicity Team
A new commercial featuring Veterans using telehealth began airing on national television this week as a part of a new partnership between T-Mobile* and VA. The ad, which highlights Veterans using VA Video Connect without incurring data charges, exemplifies the public-private partnerships VA has developed to increase access to care for Veterans.
“Veterans and caregivers with limited cellular data plans are faced with difficult decisions on how to best utilize their cellular data,” said Executive Advisor Deborah Scher, who leads the secretary’s Center for Strategic Partnerships. “Partnerships like these significantly expand the Veterans access to exceptional and innovative health care services.”
Bruce Grammer, a Marine sergeant and Purple Heart recipient who served in Vietnam, and his wife Lynne started using VA Video Connect three years ago to keep up with health care teams on a regular basis. The couple is featured alongside two other Veterans from California and Virginia.
“We live 20 miles from the closest loaf of bread, and 75 miles from the closest VA Medical Center,” said Lynne Van Dyke-Grammer. “I have no doubt that Bruce would not have sought out the proper health care if he was unable to do it from the comfort of our own home. Telehealth has made all the difference in the world.”
VA reached a major milestone in fiscal year 2018 by delivering health care through more than 1 million video telehealth visits, a 19% increase in video telehealth visits over the prior year. VA remains dedicated to opening doors for Veterans to more conveniently access their health care, regardless of their location across this country.
“Our goal at the Department of Veterans Affairs is to offer every Veteran the best health care possible no matter where they choose to call home. The Veterans featured in this advertisement demonstrate how telehealth can change lives,” said Dr. Neil Evans, chief officer of VA’s Office of Connected Care. “Through strategic partnerships such as this partnership with T-Mobile, VA is better able to support as many Veterans as possible.”
The T-Mobile commercials are scheduled to air in cinema and on television from May 1 to May 31.
Here’s how the service works:
With limited exceptions, using VA Video Connect in the United States will not count against data allotments for T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile subscribers. Exceptions include when:
The T-Mobile/Metro by T-Mobile subscriber is “roaming” off the T-Mobile network.
The T-Mobile/Metro by T-Mobile subscriber is connecting to VA Video Connect through a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
The T-Mobile/Metro by T-Mobile subscriber is connecting to the network through a mobile hotspot.
The following examples help explain the T-Mobile benefit:
If a T-Mobile/Metro by T-Mobile subscriber has a 10 gigabyte per month high speed data plan and uses 15 gigabytes of high speed data for VA Video Connect during the billing cycle, the subscriber will still have 10 gigabytes of data to use for other data activities.
If a T-Mobile/Metro by T-Mobile subscriber has a 10 gigabyte per month high speed data plan and uses 10 gigabytes of data watching movies during the billing cycle, the subscriber will still be able to use high speed data for VA Video Connect during the billing cycle.
An entity’s being listed as a partner does not mean or imply that VA endorses the entity, its views, or any products or services it may provide.
Now here is the rest of the story – VA Video Connect connects Veterans with their health care team from anywhere, using encryption to ensure a secure and private session.
It makes VA health care more convenient and reduces travel times for Veterans, especially those in very rural areas with limited access to VA health care facilities, and it allows quick and easy health care access from any mobile or web-based device.
Veterans and their health care providers jointly decide whether to use VA Video Connect for a medical visit. Please speak with your VA care team if you are interested in potentially receiving care through VA Video Connect. Ahead of a VA Video Connect appointment, you will receive an email or calendar invite with a link to launch the session.
VA Video Connect works on nearly any device that has an internet connection and a web camera. For example, it works on Windows-based PCs and laptops, Windows mobile devices, iOS mobile devices, Android mobile devices, etc.
For those with internet capabilities here is the answers to a lot of questions – https://mobile.va.gov/app/va-videoconnect# AppFAQ
For questions about and/or technical assistance regarding VA Video Connect, please contact the National Telehealth Technology Help Desk at 866- 651-3180 or 703-234-4483 on Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. through 11 p.m ET.
Note both Muskogee and OKC VA use VA Video Connect – Their numbers are –
Muskogee – Please call 888-397-8387, ext. 3830 or 888-397-8387, ext. 3378 to learn more about our Telehealth Services.
OKC Please call 405-456-4254 Diana Cary is the Point of Contact.
VA partners with Microsoft to improve how rural Veterans access VA’s online services and Benefits
WASHGINGTON — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Microsoft Corp., recently formed a partnership that aims to improve how Veterans living in rural areas can access VA’s online services and benefits.
The agreement, which was formalized in mid-April, allows VA and Microsoft to work together to advance and improve the quality of life for Veterans by identifying opportunities to extend broadband internet connectivity to underserved rural Veteran communities.
The Veterans Health Administration’s offices of Community Engagement, Connected Care, Telehealth Services, Rural Health, and VA’s office of Information and Technology aim to improve access to online VA services and benefits, such as telemedicine. Digital inclusion can increase access to continuous health care services — enhance the workflow, reach and efficiency of VA staff — and support Veterans’ participation in their own health care.
The partnership with Microsoft is another step toward achieving VA’s strategic goals of providing excellent customer service and business transformation.