October 10, 2014 - WASHINGTON –The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced that its national telehealth programs served more than 690,000 Veterans during fiscal year 2014. That total represents approximately 12 percent of the overall Veteran population enrolled for VA healthcare, and accounted for more than 2 million telehealth visits. Of that number, approximately 55 percent were Veterans living in rural areas with limited access to VA healthcare. With more Veterans seeking health care, telehealth is rapidly becoming an attractive option, especially for those Veterans who don’t have a VA health care facility close to home.
“We have to adapt to meet Veterans wherever their needs are,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald. “A brick-and-mortar facility is not the only option for health care. We are exploring how we can more efficiently and effectively deliver health care services to better serve our Veterans and improve their lives. Telehealth is one of those areas we have identified for growth.”
Currently, there are more than 44 clinical specialties offered to Veterans through VA’s telehealth programs. One program at the Miami VA schedules close to 90 clinic connections every week for dermatology, eye exams, the women Veterans program, podiatry, mental health and other clinical specialties.
One tangible example of the success of VA’s telehealth program is its burgeoning TeleAudiology program because of large population of Veterans living with hearing loss. The TeleAudiology program has grown from 1,016 Veterans in fiscal year 2011 to more than 10,589 in fiscal year 2014.
For more information about VA’s telehealth program, visit www.telehealth.va.gov/.