VA, Walmart eye rapid expansion of telehealth sites: 4 notes 

The Department of Veterans Affairs plans to ramp up its telehealth services at Walmart locations across the country once the coronavirus pandemic "winds down," according to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, reports. 

Four notes: 

1. VA and Walmart announced their partnership in 2018 and opened their first telehealth services pilot location at a Walmart in Asheboro, N.C., on Dec. 10, 2019. 

2. VA and Walmart now operate five telehealth sites at Walmarts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa. With the telehealth services, veterans can meet with a VA provider via video conferencing in a private room at Walmart to receive care. Each telehealth site is partnered with a VA hospital in the state. 

3. Mr. Wilkie said that Walmart wants to begin expanding more of the telehealth sites and "has plans to move more rapidly once this pandemic is over." He did not disclose how many new sites are planned. 

4. Walmart donates telehealth equipment and space for telehealth sites, and services range from primary care, nutrition, mental health and social work. 

"They can do routine things, basic hearing and eye tests and things like that," Mr. Wilkie said. "But I see it as the wave of the future for mental health. This puts veterans in a comfortable setting. It doesn't force them or their families to travel long distances. And it doesn't force them into what could be in many cases an unfriendly, large clinic setting." 

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