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Veterans Health Administration

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Veterans Health Administration



Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How does VEText work?

A: The first text message reminder will be sent seven days before the appointment, and a second reminder text message will be sent two days before the appointment. The timing/frequency of the reminders may vary by facility. Veterans should review the date and time of each appointment and use the prompts provided in the message to either confirm or cancel the appointment. Veterans with multiple appointments on the same day will receive multiple text message appointment reminders. In addition to text message appointment reminders, VEText offers earlier appointment slots for Veterans meeting certain criteria (wait time, service connected, etc.). This feature is called Open Slot Management (OSM). Veterans will automatically receive these text message as long they have not opted out of the VEText program. This feature allows Veterans to reschedule their appointment for an earlier available appointment. By using the prompts provided in the message, the Veteran can either reschedule or keep their current appointment. If the Veteran chooses to reschedule their current appointment, VEText will book/schedule the Veteran into the earlier slot and cancel the previously scheduled appointment. The VEText system also has an easy to use opt-out process for Veterans who do not want to receive text messaging reminders. To opt-out, simply reply “STOP” to the text message. Additionally, all appointment reminder messages contain instructions on how to end the message delivery. Veterans who want to restart the text message appointment reminders at any time, simply text "START" to a previous text message from VEText and the service will resume. VEText works for VA health care appointments only and these text messages do not currently replace the letters and automated phone calls Veterans already receive for appointment reminders. Text messaging rates may apply depending on individual cell phone plans.

Q: Do I have to sign up for VEText?

A: This system automatically enrolls the Veteran into VEText based on the phone information already on file in our system, and will send reminder text messages their scheduled appointments.

Q: I do not want text message reminders for my appointments. How do I stop them?

A: Veterans can easily opt-out anytime by replying STOP to end the messages. All appointment reminder messages contain instructions on how to end the text messages.

Q: I accidentally opted out! What do I do?

A: Veterans can opt-in by replying "START" to a previous reminder message or by calling their local VA Medical Center to request VEText service to resume.

Q: Will I receive reminder text messages for all my scheduled appointments?

A: Veterans will receive text message reminders for clinic appointments at your local medical center and outpatient clinics. Veterans will not receive text message reminders for appointments in Lab, Community Care, Research, Telephone Clinics, and HBPC.

Q: What if I have multiple appointments on the same date?

A: If a Veteran has multiple appointments on the same date, the system will send a single text message identifying both appointments individually and providing separate options for confirming or cancelling each appointment individually.

Q: What happens if I don't respond to the text message?

A: If you do not respond to the text message reminder, your appointment will remain scheduled.

Q: How do I update my phone number with the VA?

A: Veterans can update their phone number during the check-in or out process for any appointment, at or at any kiosk.

Q: Will this cost me anything?

A: VEText will not cost the Veteran anything, with the possible exception of any text messaging charges associated with the Veteran's cell phone carrier. Standard text messaging rates will apply.

Q: Will my Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and/or Protected Health Information (PHI) be included on the appointment reminders?

A: Veterans can request to receive Protected Health Information (PHI)/Personally Identifiable Information (PII) in their appointment reminders to include clinic friendly names. Before your next appointment with VA, VEText will send a text message for you to request the clinic information in the appointment reminder message. Veterans who respond with the five-digit zip code matching the records on file will receive clinic information in their future text message appointment reminders.

Q: What if I change my mind and do not want to receive PII/PHI?

A: Responding “BASIC” to any message will remove the enhanced message option and further text message appointment reminders will not include clinic name, only date and time.

Q: Will I still receive phone call and postcard reminders?

A: Yes! VEText will not replace letters, postcards, or automated phone call reminders. The text messages will serve as an additional reminder.

Q: Why do I have to respond with specific numbers or letters instead of just Y or N to confirm or cancel my appointments?

A: Due to how the VEText platform has been designed, it uses specific confirm/cancel codes. It allows the platform to match your response with a specific appointment. For example, you may have more than one appointment on a specific day, and receive more than one text message reminder. If you just respond "Y" or "N", then the VEText platform wouldn't know which appointment the response was in reference to. Replying with the confirm/cancel codes provided, allows VEText to match your response with the correct appointment.

Q: Do I need to enroll in Open Slot Management (OSM) separately? 

A:  No!  If you’re currently active in the VEText system and meet certain criteria (wait time, service-connected, etc.), you will be notified if an earlier appointment slot is available depending on your position on a waitlist.

Q: How do I accept the new appointment slot?  What happens to my previously scheduled appointment?

A:  Similar to VEText appointment reminders, simply respond with the correct alphanumeric (e.g. R2, K3, etc.) and VEText will either reschedule or keep your current appointment.  If you chose to reschedule, you are scheduled into the new appointment slot and your previously scheduled appointment is automatically cancelled.

Q: How long do I have to respond to an Open Slot Management (OSM) text message?

A:  OSM text messages are sent to multiple Veterans at the same time.  The first Veteran to claim the open slot (via text message) will be booked into the earlier appointment.  Don’t worry!  If the earlier appointment is no longer available, your currently scheduled medical appointment will remain active. 

Q: Can I opt-out of Open Slot Management (OSM)/rescheduling messages only?

A:  At this time, if you simply reply “STOP” you will be opted-out of the receiving ALL text messages from VEText – this includes appointment reminders.