San Francisco VA Health Care System
San Francisco VA Health Care System Completes 31,118 Video Visits in 2020
September 14, 2020
SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco VA Health Care System (SFVAHCS) completed more than 31,118 video telehealth appointments with Veterans in their homes. This represents an increase in video telehealth appointments of more than 2,700 percent since Jan. 1, 2020.
Video telehealth allows Veterans and their caregivers to meet virtually with their VA care teams on any computer, tablet, or mobile device with an internet or data service connection. As in-person interactions decreased in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, video telehealth has supported Veterans’ abilities to continue care and remain safe at home.
“Video telehealth has been a lifeline during the COVID pandemic, allowing us to continue to care for our patients without interruption,” said Dr. Theodora Mauro, SFVAHCS’ deputy chief of staff. “We’ve built on this virtual health infrastructure to expand access to urgent care, next-day appointments through virtual visits and group psychotherapy visits. We hope to use these approaches to extend care to Veterans in rural areas and student Veterans, and expand our ability to facilitate specialty care to Veterans via virtual health.”
All SFVAHCS primary care and mental health professionals are capable of providing video telehealth care to Veterans in their homes or other locations of their choice. In addition, almost 62 percent of all specialty professionals are currently capable of providing video telehealth visits with more staff being trained daily.
More than 7,100 individual Veterans served by SFVAHCS have completed video telehealth visits. VA staff provide equipment training and support to assist Veterans in completing their video visits. VA is making 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, over 26,000 devices have been provided to increase access to the technology that Veterans need to connect with their VA health care team virtually.
The San Francisco VA Health Care System (SFVAHCS) is a comprehensive network that provides health services to Veterans through the San Francisco VA Medical Center (SFVAMC) and six community-based outpatient clinics in Santa Rosa, Eureka, Ukiah, Clearlake, San Bruno and downtown San Francisco. The SFVAHCS has a long history of conducting cutting-edge research, establishing innovative medical programs, and providing compassionate care to Veterans. SFVAMC has several National Centers of Excellence in the areas of epilepsy treatment, cardiac surgery, post-traumatic stress disorder, HIV and renal dialysis. SFVAMC’s $81 million research program is one of the largest in the Veterans Health Administration. SFVAMC has been affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), School of Medicine for more than 50 years.