The St. Cloud VA Health Care Facility has been at its current location since 1923. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently announced that video telehealth appointments to home increased over 1,000% as Veterans increasingly chose virtual care through VA Video Connect during the coronavirus pandemic. In Central Minnesota, the St. Cloud VA Health Care System has conducted over 6,617 telehealth appointments between March through May 2020.

“As we near the three-year anniversary of the launch of VA Video Connect, even during these challenging times, VA has and continues to maintain access to high-quality health care for Veterans,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “As the service becomes more popular, VA remains committed to providing a seamless user experience to ensure Veterans have access to care where and when they need it.”

VA Video Connect allows Veterans and their caregivers to meet virtually with their VA care teams on any computer, tablet, or mobile device with an internet connection. As in-person interactions decreased in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, VA Video Connect supported Veterans’ abilities to continue care and remain safely at home. Usage of video to home services has been increasing since mid-March with peak usage reaching over 29,000 appointments per day nationally.

The increase at the St. Cloud VA represents a 1,095 percent increase from February 2020. Other telehealth milestones from the St. Cloud VA include:

  • More than 11,000 total virtual appointments conducted between October 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020, a 330% increase
  • Greater than 95% of Primary Care and Mental Health clinicians can conduct VA Video Connect Visits
  • All primary specialty care and mental health teams can be reached via Secure Messaging