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VA opens telehealth access sites at Montana universities


October 13, 2022

Helena , MT — Partnership helps student, faculty Veterans receive convenient VA care through telehealth

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has opened two new Accessing Telehealth through Local Area Stations, or ATLAS, sites. One of the new sites is at Montana State University in Bozeman, and the other is at the University of Montana in Missoula. 
“One in ten Montanans are Veterans,” said Montana VA Executive Director Judy Hayman. “Across Montana, we have seen the power of partnerships to help connect Veterans to the services they have earned. Our partners at Montana State University and the University of Montana are a strong example of how Montanans innovate to support our Veterans.” 
The ATLAS sites give student and faculty Veterans enrolled in VA care through the Montana VA Health Care System the option to connect with their VA providers at either campus. ATLAS provides comfortable, private spaces equipped with high-speed internet access, site attendant support and the technology needed for video telehealth visits through VA Video Connect, VA’s secure videoconferencing app. 
“I’m grateful to VA, as well as the state and university system, for seeing Montana as the place to host these first academic VA telehealth sites,” said Joe Schumacher, director of Veteran services at Montana State University. “The more barriers we remove, the more we encourage student Veterans to take advantage of these resources.” 
ATLAS enables VA to provide services that do not require hands-on exams. These services include mental health appointments, nutrition counseling, select primary care visits and social work assistance. ATLAS sites eliminate potential barriers to care. These include long travel times, transportation costs and poor internet connectivity — particularly in remote areas. 
“This is groundbreaking,” said Pat Beckwith, director of military and Veteran services at the University of Montana. “No other universities in the nation provide VA telehealth services like this on their campus. We are excited for this opportunity. It’s an innovative and collaborative way to better serve our military affiliated students and staff.” 
Veterans who want to schedule an appointment at either university’s ATLAS site can call 877-468-8387. To learn more about these ATLAS sites, visit the Travis W. Atkins Veteran Support Center at Montana State University and the Military and Veteran Services Office at the University of Montana. For more on the ATLAS pilot program, visit the VA Office of Connected Care website.