VA, Walmart open telehealth locations to serve Veterans in rural areas

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Walmart cut the ribbon in Asheboro, North Carolina, Dec. 10, for a new VA-led Accessing Telehealth through Local Area Stations (ATLAS) services pilot location.

The public-private affiliation provides convenient health care to Veterans in their communities.

“This type of collaboration is the way of the future,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Veterans need the expansion of choice, and this partnership is vital to affording them convenient access to VA health care services where they live.”

Walmart has donated equipment and space at five sites as part of a pilot initiative allowing Veterans to meet with a VA provider in a private room via video technology. VA telehealth clinical services vary by location and may include: primary care, nutrition, mental health and social work.

“As both a Veteran of the Air Force and a father whose son and son-in-law are serving, I know firsthand how important support and access is for our military, especially when it comes to health care,” said Chief Growth Officer for Walmart U.S. Health and Wellness, Daryl Risinger. “Walmart is committed to making quality health care affordable and accessible and is working with VA to expand its ability to serve Veterans through technology. This is another way we are helping our communities live better.”

This new option makes VA care easier to access and eases the burden of long travel times to appointments. VA leads the nation in telehealth services. Last fiscal year, there were more than 1.3 million video telehealth encounters with more than 490,000 Veterans. Other telehealth pilot sites are in Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa.

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