VA to Provide Rural Vets Access to Specialty Care via Telehealth | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

VA to Provide Rural Vets Access to Specialty Care via Telehealth

July 11, 2012
by Jennifer Prestigiacomo
| Reprints

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has implemented a new initiative, Specialty Care Access Network-Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (SCAN-ECHO), to increase access to specialty care services for Veterans in rural and medically under-served areas through the use of videoconferencing equipment.

Through SCAN-ECHO, patients in rural areas with complex medical conditions are now able to receive specialty care treatment from their local VA physician.

“We are committed to providing increased access to high-quality health care to Veterans regardless of where they live,” said Secretary Eric K. Shinseki. “Through SCAN-ECHO, patients in rural areas with complex medical conditions are now able to receive specialty care treatment from their local VA physician.”

SCAN-ECHO is modeled after an outreach program developed by the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center’s Project ECHO. SCAN-ECHO enables specialty care teams in areas such as diabetes, pain management, and Hepatitis C to use videoconferencing equipment to connect with Veterans’ local primary care providers (PCPs) and Patient Aligned Care Teams. During a scheduled SCAN-ECHO clinic, the PCP presents a patient’s case and the specialty care team recommends a treatment plan. In addition to case presentations, formal clinical education is also provided.

This year, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), established a collaborative agreement with the Project ECHO program to educate and provide training materials to VHA staff. In addition, Project ECHO staff will be available for consultation as VHA’s program continues to expand and new Centers are added.

Eleven VA medical facilities currently serve as SCAN-ECHO Centers: VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, Conn.; VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Penn.; Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center, Richmond, Va.; Salem VA Medical Center, Salem, Va.; Louis Stokes VA Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio; VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ann Arbor, Mich.; New Mexico VA Healthcare System, Albuquerque, N.M.; VA Eastern Colorado Healthcare System, Denver, Colo.; Portland VA Medical Center, Portland, Ore.; San Francisco VA Medical Center; and Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 22 (services split between VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System and VA San Diego Healthcare System).

These centers are piloting the original model as developed by Project ECHO and adapting it to the VHA. The program is currently being evaluated to assure that Veterans are experiencing improved access to care prior to a system wide expansion.

To date, 35 teams in 14 different specialties have been formed as of May, with 150 sessions held and a total of 690 consults completed.
 

Topics

News

Former Health IT Head in San Diego County Charged with Defrauding Provider out of $800K

The ex-health IT director at North County Health Services, a San Diego County-based healthcare service provider, has been charged with spearheading fraudulent operations that cost the organization $800,000.

Allscripts Touts 1 Billion API Shares in 2017

Officials from Chicago-based health IT vendor Allscripts have attested that the company has reached a new milestone— one billion application programming interface (API) data exchange transactions in 2017.

Dignity Health, CHI Merging to Form New Catholic Health System

Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), based in Englewood, Colorado, and San Francisco-based Dignity Health officially announced they are merging and have signed a definitive agreement to combine ministries and create a new, nonprofit Catholic health system.

HHS Announces Winning Solutions in Opioid Code-a-Thon

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) hosted this week a first-of-its-kind two-day Code-a-Thon to use data and technology to develop new solutions to address the opioid epidemic.

In GAO Report, More Concern over VA VistA Modernization Project

A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report is calling into question the more than $1 billion that has been spent to modernize the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) health IT system.

Lawmakers Introduce Legislation Aimed at Improving Medicare ACO Program

U.S. Representatives Peter Welch (D-VT) and Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) have introduced H.R. 4580, the ACO Improvement Act of 2017 that makes changes to the Medicare accountable care organization (ACO) program.