St. Cloud VA Health Care System
St. Cloud VA Health Care System surpasses 6,600 video visits in 2020
July 9, 2020
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently announced that video telehealth appointments to home increased over 1,000% as Veterans increasingly chose virtual care through VA Video Connect during the coronavirus pandemic. In Central Minnesota, the St. Cloud VA Health Care System has conducted over 6,617 telehealth appointments between March through May 2020.
“As we near the three-year anniversary of the launch of VA Video Connect, even during these challenging times, VA has and continues to maintain access to high-quality health care for Veterans,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “As the service becomes more popular, VA remains committed to providing a seamless user experience to ensure Veterans have access to care where and when they need it.”
VA Video Connect allows Veterans and their caregivers to meet virtually with their VA care teams on any computer, tablet, or mobile device with an internet connection. As in-person interactions decreased in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, VA Video Connect supported Veterans’ abilities to continue care and remain safely at home. Usage of video to home services has been increasing since mid-March with peak usage reaching over 29,000 appointments per day nationally.
The increase at the St. Cloud VA represents a 1,095 percent increase from February 2020. Other telehealth milestones from the St. Cloud VA include:
• More than 11,000 total virtual appointments conducted between October 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020, a 330% increase
• Greater than 95% of Primary Care and Mental Health clinicians can conduct VA Video Connect Visits
• All primary specialty care and mental health teams can be reached via Secure Messaging
VA virtual care options can make it easier and safer for Veterans to receive care from their providers while helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by accessing VA care virtually. There are several ways for Veterans to keep in touch with their care team to include:
Telephone or Video Appointments – Veterans can receive care at home — either over the phone or via video using VA Video Connect on their computers, smartphones, or tablets. To set up telephone or video appointments, Veterans can send their provider a secure message on My HealtheVet by visiting myhealth.va.gov. To learn more about VA Video Connect, visit mobile.va.gov/app/va-video-connect.
Prescription Refills – Veterans can request prescription refills and order and ship medications to their homes using My HealtheVet or the Rx Refill mobile app. Download the app at mobile.va.gov/app/rx-refill.
Text Message Reminders – Veterans can use Annie’s Coronavirus Precautions protocol to send automated text messages with information about COVID-19. This application helps Veterans monitor for symptoms and can assist if they need to contact a VA facility for care. Enroll at mobile.va.gov/annie.
Secure Messaging – With My HealtheVet, VA’s online patient portal, Veterans can send online secure messages to their VA health care team to ask them nonurgent health questions. Register at myhealth.va.gov.
VA Health Chat: The VA Health Chat app provides easy, online access to chat with VA staff when Veterans have minor health questions and more, including getting help figuring where to access care. VA team members are available to chat Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. local time, excluding federal holidays. Learn more and get the VA Health Chat app at: mobile.va.gov/app/va-health-chat.
Central Minnesota Veterans needing help with virtual care tools or assistance with setting up a device can call the St. Cloud VA Health Hub at (320) 252-1670, Ext. 7271.
For more information about VA’s Connected Care technologies, visit connectedcare.va.gov.