The Veterans Administration (VA) https://www.va.gov provides healthcare to nearly 9 million veterans. One third of the veterans are living in rural areas where providing care to veterans presents a delivery challenge.
To meet the challenge, the VA recently initiated their latest telehealth innovation in Eureka Montana, with the opening of the VA’s first “Accessing Telehealth through Local Area Stations” (ATLAS) site to help 300 veterans in the Eureka Montana VFW Post 6786.
ATLAS has teamed up with public and private organizations to provide underserved veterans’ access to VA healthcare. The service provides for video appointments and clinical services at ATLAS sites.
Currently, ATLAS sites offer healthcare services that do not require hands on exams. Clinical services offered may include primary care, mental health counseling, clinical pharmacy, nutrition services, and social work. However, there are no VA employees based at ATLAS sites, but there is an attendant on-site who is able to provide veterans with information.
ATLAs exam rooms provided by the VFW and designed in partnership with Philips https://www.usa.philips.com, are able to provide telehealth equipment in secure and private spaces, allowing veterans to conduct virtual appointments with VA providers.
Project ATLAS uses Philips telehealth patient monitoring solution, including WiFi-enabled electronic scales, bold pressure cuffs and thermometers, as well as glucose meters and pulse oximeters that are linked to a secure, high speed internet connections.
In addition to Eureka Montana, the ten site pilot program will have initial locations inside American Legions and VFW Posts in Springfield, Virginia, Los Banos California, and Linesville, Pennsylvania with ten sites to be installed by the end of 2020.