WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today, as of mid-June, more than 100 VA medical facilities and medical centers (VAMCs) have reinstated at least one in-person service within their direct health care delivery system after certain services were temporarily on hold or reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
VA leadership reviews and considers many factors daily, including community infection rates, to determine when it is safe for a facility to expand services.
“We will continue to provide a safe environment for both Veterans and employees,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “VA will also ensure the safety of patients and employees are a priority when implementing which Veterans Health Administration facilities move forward with expanding in-person services.”
The department’s focus has been to provide in-person care to Veterans who have the greatest clinical need during the pandemic — while VAMCs remain open for urgent and emergency care services. For non-emergent care, telehealth appointments have been a valuable link between VA and Veterans during this challenging time, however, Veterans should not delay contacting their care team to make an appointment if they have a medical concern.
VA continues to increase telehealth appointments for Veterans not in need of in-person services, which has now seen more than a 1,000% increase — totaling more telehealth visits in March 2020 than in all of 2019.
VA will continue to use and expand innovative personalized telehealth options, phone consults and wellness checks regardless of a Veteran’s geographic location. For information on which VAMCs are providing in-person services, contact the local VAMC directly.