VA Connect - connecting veterans to healthcare

HERALD photo/Amanda Duforat Karie Holsenbeck, LVN, TCT, gives a demonstration of the VA  Connect program and talks about the benefits of the new connection.
Amanda Duforat
Managing Editor

West Texas VA Medical Center serves 33 counties and covers more than 53,000 square miles, comprised of mostly rural areas. For veterans living and working in those areas, getting to a doctor can be difficult, but with VA Connect, that is no longer the case. 
“VA Connect is saving travel time and catering to our veterans located out in the rural areas of Texas, and making healthcare options efficient and increase access,” Karie Holsenbeck, LVN, TCT, said. 
VA Connect is a secure, telehealth program being offered by the West Texas VA Medical Center, and open to all veterans. According to Holsenbeck, in order to utilize VA Connect veterans only need a smart device - iPad, smartphone, computer, etc., an internet connection, email address, and a webcam. VA Connect links up the provider and the veteran through the use of an email.
“We have several veterans who work out in the oilfield, live a couple hours or more away from the closest VA facility and VA Connect allows them to have access to providers and other services without the travel, without having to take time off,” Holsenbeck said. 
Telehealth is not a new concept to the medical field or VA system, and has been implemented for the past 10-15 years. VA Connect is a new outreach platform for veterans that was launched six months ago, after being researched for a year. 
“This service won’t completly eliminate the need to come in and see a provider, but it will open access and open entry for our veterans to find out if they need to schedule an on site visit,” she said. 
She continued, “There are some who might be skeptical since this is still a new concept, but we do want to reassure our veterans that this connection is secure. ...

For the complete story, see the weekend edition of the Big Spring Herald.