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Tallahassee Department of Veterans Affairs aiming to connect vets with VA Video Connect app

Posted at 6:24 PM, Feb 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-19 18:24:13-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — One group in Tallahassee is seeking to give the men and women who served in our military easier access to medical attention.

The Tallahassee Department of Veterans Affairs held a Connect Care Health Fair Wednesday, showing off a new way for patients to interact with their health providers without leaving the comfort of their own home.

ABC 27 spoke to some of the doctors and a local veteran about the impact from this change.

Whether a veteran is at home, at the beach or even in a a different country, access to their health providers is now easier than ever.

"I think the more connected people are, the better it is," said John Sleigher, a Marine Corps veteran.

John Sleigher served in the United States Marine Corps for four years. Now, he protects his community when driving on the interstate as a Florida Highway Patrol Trooper.

Taking care of his overall health is why he drives to the Department of Veterans Affairs in Tallahassee frequently. But thanks to VA Video Connect, Sleigher can skip the drive and still have full access to the care he needs.

"I think it's a great thing. I think veterans, especially a lot that live 30, 40, 50 miles away , this will save them the travel time, the wait time, and it will speed the process along to get better care," said Sleigher.

The VA Video Connect service is a free mobile app and does not have a larger payment to receive professional medical attention than it would for an in-person appointment.
Armia Sorial has been a primary care provider with the VA for 20 years and says the convenience from this new service helps everyone involved.

"Having this video connect service where veterans talk to us from their computer at home, their smartphone or their tablet and we can connect with them as long as it doesn't need an actual physical examination,' said Sorial. "It's a very convenient way for both the provider and the veteran to provide needed health care services to our veterans."

With all of the positive feedback, one challenge they face is providing this service when the veteran is in an area with bad phone service. The Assistant Chief Nurse for the Tallahassee VA says that the continued growth of technology will help overcome this obstacle.

"Some of the remote areas don't have broadband web. So it's kind of spotty in those areas," said Oscar Goolsby, the assistant chief nurse. "But that technology is improving, so hopefully with 5G we will be able to maximize our leverage in technology."

Maximizing technology and providing essential care for all military veterans no matter where they are is what brightens the future.

Over 1,600 veterans have already signed up and successfully used this service and the hope is to continue to raise that number, to make sure the men and women who protected our country get the help they need.

To find out more about the app, click here.