Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System
VEText system helps Veterans keep, cancel their VA medical appointments
July 25, 2018
Veterans receiving care from the Department of Veterans Affairs Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System – do you want to help your fellow Veterans get care they deserve at a faster pace? If so, then GCVHCS officials recommend you take advantage of VEText, the VA’s automated text-messaging appointment-reminder system.
Introduced in March nationwide in 138 VA facilities, VEText reminds Veterans of upcoming health care appointments, allowing them to easily confirm or cancel the appointment via their cell phone. Veterans who have previously used the VA health care system — with a cell phone number listed in their electronic health records — are automatically enrolled in VEText. Veterans can update their phone numbers during the check-in or check-out process for an appointment, at any kiosk or if they have a My HealtheVet Premium account at https://www.myhealth.va.gov/mhvportal-web/home.
VEText is integrated with VA’s electronic health-records system and does not require manual action by VA staff. Appointments are automatically scheduled and canceled via text message, freeing staff to provide more personalized care to Veterans.
Every missed appointment represents a lost opportunity to provide faster access to care for a Veteran in need,” said VA’s Acting Secretary Peter O’Rourke. “VEText underscores VA’s commitment to digital modernization and represents a milestone in putting more user-friendly capabilities in the hands of Veterans and our employees.”
According to the Veterans Health Administration’s Office of Veterans Access to Care, as of July 9, more than 3.24 million patients have received VEText messages and canceled 319,504 appointments, freeing up time slots for other Veterans to use.
Locally in GCVHCS, VEText is working.
“Veterans receiving physical therapy care (in Pensacola, Fla.) have expressed that they are in fact getting the text messages, and appreciate the notifications,” Dennis Thomas, supervisory physical therapist at the VA Joint Ambulatory Care Center, said. “It seems to have helped decrease some of the ‘no-shows,’ too.”
GCVHCS Assistant Chief of Medical Administration Service Michael Thomas added that Veterans who aren’t interested in receiving the reminders can text “STOP” at any time, or “START” if they would like to resume. The only cost associated with VEText participation for Veterans is via their cellphone service provider, if applicable, for text messaging.
“VEText has changed the way we communicate with our Veteran patients,” said John Ullyot, VA Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. “Veterans appreciate the convenient, user-friendly system and understand this technology not only helps them, but their fellow Veterans as well.”
For more information about VEText, visit: https://www.va.gov/HEALTH/VEText.asp.