VA to Expand Telehealth Services to Reach 825,000 Veterans; Adam Darkins Comments

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The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has confirmed expansion plans for veteran telehealth services, reports Eric Wicklund for govhealthit.

Over 460,000 veterans used telehealth last year and the VA wants to double that number through awareness campaigns and expanded services.

Adam Darkins, MD, the VA’s chief consultant for telehealth services, spoke about the developments during the Center for Connected Health’s Connected Health Symposium last week in Boston, Ma.

Telehealth services include: video consults, store and forwards telehealth, and home monitoring for veterans with chronic conditions, said Darkins.

VA intends to increase video consults, mHealth programs, e-consults, and teleradiology programs in order to reach 825,000 veterans before 2013 ends.

We would also like to concentrate in developing our chronic disease management program through transferring 13,000 veterans which are monitored via interactive voice response into a video conferencing platform, Darkins explained.

The VA announced last September they will collaborate with the Department of Health and Human Services to improve the telehealth program to serve more veterans in rural areas.

The partnership received around $983,000 in federal grants. The initiative is intended to stimulate cooperation between VA operated clinics and hospitals as well as other health providers for veterans.

The program will be concentrated in Virginia, Montana, and Alaska due to the high veteran population of these states. Each state will receive $300,000 for telehealth network upgrades and creation of VistA HER compatible electronic health records.

Darkins added that the telehealth program as a routine of care has resulted in a 30 percent drop in bed days of care and 80 percent satisfaction ratings from patients since the pilot stage in 2005.

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  1. Hello, I am a 22 year veteran, and I really need some assistance or guidance with a health issue I’m currently dealing with. I suffered a broken jaw 6 years ago. Had a procedure to get braces on my teeth. Fell on hard times, and did not ,and was not able to pay for the dental work due to some unforeseen circumstances. I have tried recently within the last year to get the braces removed, and was denied by the current ortho associated with performing the procedure because of the payment issue. I still dont have the money at the current moment, but the issue of my health is getting worse, which leaves me inquiring how can I get assistance getting my braces removed and from there the proper dental care.

  2. Hey Myron, If you got the braces put in at VA it is VA that should remove the braces ! So contact your local VA hospital for information. If VA did not put the braces in maybe you should try to contact whoever it was that sent you to the people that put the braces in. Or contact your VA represenative for possible guidence from them.
    If you have very limited income you very well may qualify for assistance form Medicaid, so go to your local office and inquire there for help. Also, try VA if you have very limited income. It seems to me that if you leave braces on too long it could cause some possibly serious problems and needs to be taken care of soon.
    Myron I just thought I would send you this reply and give you some possible ideas to check on. Good Luck to you man. And thank you for serving our country young man and keep your head up and never,NEVER give up on anything man !!!! OKAY. No matter what kind of help you may need make sure you go get the help you need without worrying about what others may say man.
    Later Myron, Mike Jarrett fellow veteran

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