The Veterans Administration’s (VA) national telehealth programs www.telehealth.va.gov served more than 690,000 veterans during FY 2014. This represents about 12 percent of the overall veteran population enrolled for VA healthcare and accounts for more than 2 million telehealth visits. About 55 percent of the veterans using telehealth live in rural areas with limited access to VA healthcare.
The New Mexico VA Health Care System (NMVAHCS) www.albuquerque.va.gov plays an important role in providing care through the VA’s national program. Veterans in the state particularly veterans living in rural parts of New Mexico are using telehealth technologies to provide veterans with telemental, teledermatology, teleretinal, telenutrition services.
The veteran’s use of telehealth, necessitated the NMVAHCS to open larger Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC) in towns across the state where clinics already existed. In the past couple of years, larger clinics have opened with dedicated telemedicine rooms in Artesia, Santa Fe, Farmington, Silver City, Raton, and Rio Rancho. Plans are for another new clinic to open soon in 2015.
New Mexico veterans with mobility issues are now using video conferencing in their homes. This has helped many veterans who suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, chronic heart failure, PTSD, depression, spinal cord injury, TBI, and chronic respiratory disease.