In 2009, during my first deployment, I stepped into a two foot hole severing the ligaments in my left ankle and partially ripping my Achilles Tendon. What I thought was a simple ankle injury instead confined me to a wheelchair and changed my entire life.
I am one of the thousands of veterans that have been unable to obtain adequate healthcare simply because a physical and / or mental difficulty prevents us from stepping out our front door and into our assigned VA Healthcare Facility. In the years that followed, I found myself being labeled the “problem patient” or being called “non-compliant” because of appointment cancellations.
I’m sure I’m not the only one that has been denied rescheduled appointments, referrals and even medication because there was absolutely no way for me to get there.
Thankfully, there is always that one nurse, and usually that doctor, that knows why the struggles are there, and shares a reassuring smile that says they are more than willing to help. This experience is reoccurring when there is a transfer to a new state and you are unable to remain with the providers that you have developed that much needed trust with.
An app called VA Video Connect is, what I believe to be, the golden solution to the stressors of seeking help within our VA healthcare system. According to an article posted on Health Data Management, this telehealth app allows veterans to attend virtual consultations with primary care and mental healthcare providers from the comfort and security of their own homes.
Frankly, I would have been elated by that announcement alone, but it also talks about a proposed rule issued by the VA that would waive state licensure requirements in order to allow VA providers to continue to administer care without being restricted by state lines.
But wait, there’s more!
A second article, this one posted on MeriTalk, announces a second app called he Veteran Appointment Request Application (VAR) that contains features allowing veterans to make, cancel and track VA medical appointments as well as providing a messaging system and email notifications.
Something, like a new app, may seem insignificant in comparison to the million other things going on in our daily lives… but when you take a moment to think about all the veterans who, because of trauma, disability or age, are unable to reach out for help when they desperately need it, the progress we just made is priceless.