VA Partners with Verizon to Expand Telehealth Access

Posted July 9, 2019

The largest wireless provider in the United States, Verizon, is offering customers who are veterans with free, unlimited access to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) VA Video Connect telehealth app. The app enables veterans to securely talk and interact with their VA care team from a mobile or web-based device.

“Regardless of whether they live in city centers or rural areas, veterans should be able to access the VA’s telehealth resources,” said Mike Maiorana, senior vice president of public sector at Verizon, in a statement.

VA Video Connect is part of a broader effort by the VA to expand its telehealth network for veterans. The VA currently offers several apps for veterans to manage their physical and mental health, such as Ask a Pharmacist, MyVA Health Journal, VA Health Chat, VA Online Scheduling, and PTSD Coach.

 “Availability to the VA’s telehealth app for streaming live video sessions between patients and healthcare providers is just another testament to our shared journey to fully integrated, seamless access to healthcare for our veterans, no matter where they live,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, in a statement.

In testimony before Congress in March, Wilkie asked for more than $1 billion in federal funding for the VA’s telehealth expansion, calling the technology “a critical tool to ensure veterans, especially rural veterans, can access healthcare when and where they need it.”

The VA achieved more than 1 million video telehealth visits in 2017, Wilkie testified, a 19 percent increase over the prior year.

“VA’s major expansion for telehealth and telemental health over the next five years, for both urban and rural veterans, will focus on care in or near the veteran’s home,” he said. “VA’s target is to increase veterans receiving some care through telehealth from 13 percent to 20 percent using telehealth innovations like the VA Video Connect.”