VA offers debt relief to Veterans through year’s end
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced its commitment to extend debt relief to Veterans adversely impacted by COVID-19 to the end of 2020 by suspending certain debt collection actions. The department recognizes Veterans and beneficiaries are still being greatly impacted by the coronavirus prompting the extension of financial relief.
“Veterans and their families should be focused on their health and safety during the pandemic,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “VA is taking action to give those with pending debts greater flexibility during these challenging times.”
VA is suspending all actions on Veteran debts under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Treasury Department. This includes the suspension of collection action or extending repayment terms on preexisting VA debts, whichever the Veteran prefers.
For benefit debts, Veterans should contact the VA Debt Management Center at 1-800-827-0648.
For health care debts, Veterans should contact the Health Resource Center at 1-866-400-1238 or https://www.pay.gov for payments.
Central Virginia VA Health Care System surpasses 18,000 video visits
VA Video Connect visits increase over 1000% nationwide during COVID-19 pandemic
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently announced that video telehealth appointments to Veterans’ homes increased over 1000%, as Veterans increasingly chose virtual care through VA Video Connect during the Covid-19 pandemic. In Richmond’s total catchment area, the Central Virginia VA Health Care System has conducted over 18,000 appointments between the start of fiscal year 2020 until early July.
VA Video Connect allows Veterans and their caregivers to meet virtually with their VA healthcare providers by using a computer, tablet, or smart phone with an email address and 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 or the Veteran’s preferred site of care, has increased dramatically since mid-March.
The increase at Central Virginia VA Health Care System represents an almost 1800% increase from October of 2019. Other telehealth milestones include:
The Central Virginia VA Health Care System has rapidly adopted VVC with 89% of Primary Care Providers, 74% of Mental Health Providers, and 65% of Specialty Providers utilizing VVC to serve patients in their homes.
Over 57 clinical specialties offer services to the home through VVC including several different types of medical specialties, surgical disciplines, rehabilitation therapies & transplant services.
Some Veterans referred to Dermatology can submit pictures of their skin problems through secure email to start the treatment process at home.
Over the last 10 months, the Central Virginia VA Health Care System has provided care to over 13,000 unique Veterans through telehealth.VA is also taking strides to bridge the digital divide for Veterans who lack the technology or broadband internet connectivity required to participate in VA telehealth services. At the national level, VA is working with strategic partners, through the VA Secretary’s Center of Strategic Partnerships, to increase access to the technology that Veterans need to connect with their VA health care team virtually.