Technology Helps Veterans Access Health Care Professionals


SPRINGFIELD - Whether its for speech therapy or a retinal exam, veterans can access healthcare professionals via Tele-Health. Its the Department of Veterans Affairs' new video communication tool aimed saving vets and the government time, frustration, and money.

Gene Walker fought in Vietnam and now has type 2 diabetes. He says the program has improved the way he receives treatment.

"It really helps because if you have a question and you have to drive clear to Danville to get a yes or no [...] it would be more sensible to ask the question over the internet, that doesn't cost you a tank of gas," said walker.

That's exactly the convenience this state of the art technology allows. Walker just wishes it had been around earlier.

" brothers and sisters... we just are not told. So if you're told: 'oh I didn't know I could do that'," he added.

Robin Diehl works at the Springfield VA office. She says most veterans just don't know about the program. That's why the VA is making such a big push to get the word out.

"Tele-dermatology, tele rehab, tele-speech, tele-wound, if we have a veteran that has a wound that's not healing we can connect with Yvette Glenn in Danville, she's a nurse practitioner and  our wound specialist," Diehl said.

Veterans that may need surgery can find that out without making endless trips to a VA contracted surgeon. Erin Weiss (also with the Springfield VA) says that has been a problem in the past.

"You get veterans driving four hours to say 'yeah you need surgery' and then have to drive home and then drive back for the surgery. We're trying to eliminate the initial trip," Weiss said.

Veterans like Gene Walker say getting the treatment that's entitled to them can be frustrating, but he appreciates the steps the VA is taking to make the process easier.

"They save a lot of lives you don't know until somebody says something and you come here and you go 'holy cow I wish somebody would have told me this five years ago," said walker.

Representatives at The Department of Veterans Affairs say the best way to find out what available in your area is to check with your VA service provider.

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