More than 100 VA medical facilities and medical centers around the nation have now reinstated at least one in-person service after some were paused or scaled back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That comes as the agency says it saw a more than 1000% increase in telehealth appointments, with virtual health care appointments in March totaling more than in all of 2019.
“We will continue to provide a safe environment for both Veterans and employees,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie in a release. “VA will also ensure the safety of patients and employees are a priority when implementing which Veterans Health Administration facilities move forward with expanding in-person services.”
Community infection rates and other factors are used to determine when it is safe for a facility to expand its services, the release states.
The VA has utilized telehealth appointments to provide non-emergency care for veterans during the pandemic, but says that “veterans should not delay contacting their care team to make an appointment if they have a medical concern.”