Waiting on hold to make a medical or mental health appointment at the local veterans’ medical center no longer has to be the only option.
Veterans can now access a web-based application where they can schedule their appointments from any device, including desktops, smartphones or tablets, with an Internet connection. The application is called the veteran appointment request.
Once the app is accessed, veterans can request appointments from their general practitioner and eventually with an audiologist, eye doctor, and other specialties.
However, the dates are only requests, and the medical center’s scheduler will attempt to schedule that date or another one convenient with the veteran. Appointments can be scheduled three months out.
Victor Lezama, who retired from the in 2011, said that “the app is great for the new generation of who have technology in the palm of their hands.” He said that with the app it takes the “known error” out of the equation of making appointments over the phone. Lezama said it should help to mitigate “no shows” at appointments.
But Raul Rizo, 71, who retired from the in 1991, said that while he uses computers, he would presume that about 90 percent of people of his age and older will not use the automated system. “… but young men and women coming back from modern day wars, it’s probably like wearing shoes, just part of their makeup.”
veteran Truck Morning agrees.
“Veterans from the Vietnam and Korean eras probably wouldn’t have the foggiest idea of how to use the app,” Morning said.
App technology is new for veterans of those eras, and it’s made for the 21st century veteran. Additionally, a lot of vets don’t have a computer or can’t afford one.
retiree Tom Martindale has a completely different perspective than Lezama or Rizo.
“The VA has been notorious at not being good at thoroughly thinking through how everything impacts everyone,” Martindale said.
He said that other than using a computer to make appointments instead of using a telephone, “I’m not necessarily convinced that it’s made their lives better.”
Another concern he has is when a veteran calls to make an appointment, “that person is populating every field that is necessary … I’m not sure the computer program does that — I don’t know that it doesn’t, but I don’t know that it does.”
What to do
WHAT: Web-based Veteran Appointment Request application. App includes a guide on how to use it.
ETC.: Appointments can be requested up to three months out. Veterans can see appointment details, track status of request, send message about request appointments, receive email confirmations about appointments and cancel most appointments, including all appointments made through the app.
VA Care Teams: (844) 482-6624
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