More veterans have been able to get health care services during the Covid-19 pandemic, through VA’s expanded telehealth services. The department took steps to broaden its telehealth reach during the pandemic, understanding that many beneficiaries otherwise would not receive the treatments, diagnoses and medications they would need.
The VA program, known as Digital Divide Consult, is available via the internet and video-capable devices. Besides normal health care services, VA staffers are prepared to refer veterans to social workers when appropriate as well.
Digital Divide Consult was established initially to deliver services to veterans with lower incomes or severe disabilities, or who live in rural locations far from VA’s health-care hospitals and clinics.
The Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association states that these veterans are the most likely to use video services. Statistics show that the use of telehealth services among veterans is on the rise. During a single mid-November week last year, some 196,000 veterans used the service from their homes or other off-site locations.
At one point, video appointments peaked at more than 41,000 per day.