Secretary's Center for Strategic Partnerships (SCSP)
T-Mobile Stands Strong with U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as Telehealth Visits Surge 800%
May 22, 2020
What’s the news
With nearly 20,000 VA telehealth visits a day — an 800% surge from before the COVID-19 crisis began — T-Mobile is helping to keep more Veterans connected to their doctors than ever before.
Why it matters
With stay-home orders in place and doctors reducing in-person appointments, telehealth provides a great alternative. And, for the millions of Veterans who live in rural America and drive an average of 25-50 miles to healthcare, this important service lets them work their shift and see their doctor from the safety of their own home, without having to travel or miss work.
Who it’s for
The more than nine million Veterans served by the VA.
UPDATE: VA has conducted 120,443 weekly telehealth video (as of May 16, 2020) and VA telehealth visits have increased now by 1000.7% (as of May 26, 2020)
In December 2018, the VA and T-Mobile (NASDAQ: TMUS) kicked off a partnership with 70,000 lines of T-Mobile wireless service to power the VA’s telehealth app and make healthcare more accessible to millions in more rural areas — with unlimited access to the telehealth app. Recently, both were put to the test with the VA seeing an 800% surge in telehealth visits, and with nearly 20,000 patients now meeting with their VA healthcare teams daily, the T-Mobile network was more than ready to support the VA without missing a beat.
“Not only is telehealth important and, for many, preferred right now with the COVID-19 crisis, but for millions of Veterans living in rural America, it’s sometimes the only option for regular healthcare,” said Mike Katz, EVP, T-Mobile for Business. “T-Mobile’s nationwide service keeps Veterans in rural communities connected to their doctors and has the bandwidth to support this huge surge in telehealth visits.”
The VA cares for nine million Veterans, a third of them living in rural America, driving an average of 25-50 miles for healthcare. Because of the distance between their homes and their healthcare providers, some Veterans found themselves having to choose between their jobs and their healthcare. T-Mobile was the first of several wireless partners to step up to help the VA extend healthcare access to Veterans through telehealth — without using up their data bucket, so they can stay closely connected to their care teams and get the right treatment, no matter where they live and work.
“Many Veterans who live in rural areas sometime have to drive great distances to see their VA providers, so telehealth services provide an important alternative option for the much-needed services Veterans receive from the VA,” said Deborah Scher, Executive Advisor to the VA Secretary in the Secretary’s Center for Strategic Partnerships. “In 2018, T-Mobile stepped up as a pioneer partner in the effort to extend healthcare access to Veterans.”
For more information on T-Mobile’s partnership to expand telehealth access for Veterans, visit https://www.t-mobile.com/business/resources/articles/va-case-study.
This article first appeared on the T-Mobile website.