- The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is adding five new telemental health centers, expected to be available this summer in South Carolina, Utah, and Pennsylvania, as well as facilities in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon, the agency announced Monday.
- The VA has been providing telehealth services to more than 677,000 veterans, representing 12% of 5.6 million vets for which the agency provides healthcare.
- VA telehealth services range from real-time video conferences, home telehealth for chronic condition management, mobile monitoring tools, and technology to provide clinical data sharing between the VA and private physicians.
A current VA facility in Connecticut focuses on severe mental health conditions, such as chronic depression and bipolar disorder.
In addition to mental health, the VA's telehealth services covers 45 areas of specialty care ranging from primary care and dermatology to speech pathology.
Dr. David Shulkin, chief executive of the VA, told the audience at the American Telemedicine Association annual meeting recently that the agency is committed to fixing the long wait times for care that garnered so much media attention in the past few years.
Telehealth is proving to be crucial in speeding access to care and last year the VA did 2.1 million telehealth visits, which included 400,000 telemental health visits, according to MobiHealthNews.
The agency has been focused on providing telehealth hubs that provide different remote care. T
Shulkin said the VA telehealth efforts have reduced psychiatric admissions by 35%.