Colorado VA Clinic Adds Telecommunication to Improve Rural Access

Too many veterans do not claim their VA health benefits, especially in the Western Slope of Colorado. Maybe veterans do not feel like dealing with the backlog, resulting in long waits. Craig Veterans Telehealth Clinic had some other ideas for the cause of this lack of claims.


Beginning a new program—the first of its kind in the VA—the clinic alluded to a lack of effective communication as the problem. Telebenefits addresses the issue, connecting the 8,000 veterans that still have not claimed their health benefits to benefits counselors at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Denver Regional Office.


With gas prices on the rise, veterans can avoid the expense of travel and speak to the VA counselors through secure video conferencing. The video conference system is high-definition with superior quality audio. Veterans can discuss all benefits of concern to them with their counselors, including pensions, home loans, education benefits and more, from the comfort of their home.


Some veterans praise the program, saying the system is more personable than phone and email.


“I am pleased to see a state-of-the-art solution to an access issue facing many veterans in rural regions of Colorado,” U.S. Senator Mark Udall said. “This collaboration between my office, the VA, and the community demonstrates that when we work together, the resulting innovative solutions can also be common sense ones.”


Udall also went on to implore VA secretary Eric Shinseki to use the Telebenefits program as model for veterans all over the country with limited access to VA offices.


Photo thanks to Razlan under creative common license on Flickr.


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