800% surge in VA telehealth visits during COVID-19 pandemic with a boost from T-Mobile
Telehealth visits have become the new normal during the coronavirus, and the US Department of Veterans Affairs has nearly 20,000 telehealth visits daily, an 800% increase since before the pandemic.
About two years ago, T-Mobile and the VA formed a partnership to ensure vets can connect with their doctors from the safety of their homes, without having to travel or miss work. Many vets live in more rural areas and must travel an average 25 to 50 miles for healthcare.
In December 2018, the VA and T-Mobile began the partnership, VA Video Connect, which featured 70,000 lines of unlimited T-Mobile wireless service to power the VA's telehealth app.
"Not only is telehealth important and, for many, preferred right now with the COVID-19 crisis, but for millions of veterans living in rural America, it's sometimes the only option for regular healthcare," said Mike Katz, EVP, T-Mobile for business, in a press release.
T-Mobile's nationwide service keeps veterans in rural communities connected to their doctors and has the bandwidth to support this huge surge in telehealth visits."
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About a third of the nation's nine million veterans live in those rural communities and due to the rigors and necessary time-allotments for the long commute for healthcare, vets were having to make the choice of visiting with a needed medical-care professional and missing work. Vets do not have to juggle or make decisions choosing their health and their jobs.
In addition to its partnership with the VA, T-Mobile offers military families up to 50% off of family phones on a shared plan.
"Veterans and caregivers with limited cellular data plans are faced with difficult decisions on how to best utilize their cellular data," said executive advisor Deborah Scher, who leads the center for strategic partnerships.
"Partnerships like these significantly expand the veterans access to exceptional and innovative health care services." US active duty members, retirees, veterans or current or former guards or reserves are eligible.