VA, Walmart launch telehealth pilot program to deliver medical services in rural areas

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Walmart on Dec. 10 opened their first telehealth services pilot location in Asheboro, N.C., according to a news release.

The pilot is part of VA's Accessing Telehealth through Local Area Stations initiative, which is a multisite pilot program that leverages Philips technology to provide remote and virtual care to veterans in rural areas. VA partnered with Walmart for the telehealth pilot last December.

In addition to the Asheboro, N.C.-based site, Walmart is providing equipment and space at five additional sites in Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa for the pilot. With the telehealth services, veterans can meet with a VA provider in a private room at Walmart via video technology to receive care. The initiative aims to reduce the burden of long travel times to appointments for veterans who live far from VA care facilities.

"This type of collaboration is the way of the future," VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a news release. "Veterans need the expansion of choice, and this partnership is vital to affording them convenient access to VA healthcare services where they live."

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