BIG SPRING, Texas — Kenneth Turner is a Vietnam veteran living in Big Spring.
He lost one of his legs to chronic diabetes.
"The next thing I know I didn't have a leg," veteran Kenneth Turner said.
Luckily through the VA home telehealth care system, he's been getting checkups every day for the past year.
"Number one it saved me a lot of trips to the VA and then two if my sugar is high or low when I contact Luis, he can tell me what I need to do, what I need to take if I'm doing too much sugar intake, too much cholesterol," Turner said.
Luis is Kenneth's assigned nurse care coordinator.
Kenneth can call Luis at the Odessa clinic through his monitor any time there's a problem.
"This morning my sugar was a little high. I'm going to get a call from Luis. Why is your sugar high? He wants to know. That's called care," Turner said.
The care that comes every day.
"This little machine here works miracles. They tell you everything that's wrong with you," Turner said.
Kenneth is one of 200 veterans using this program.
How does one qualify for this kind of healthcare?
There are three criteria, you must:
- Have a chronic condition
- Have all your medications provided by VA pharmacies
- Need follow-ups with your VA doctor.
Luis says this program creates a close link between the veteran and the VA.
The call monitor and all the equipment specific to the patient is shipped directly to them.
Once it's delivered the VA calls and assists with setup.
The system is user-friendly, but if they have any questions, there's also a book provided to them.
The care is right at their fingertips.
The VA's budget for this year includes an allotment of 1.1 billion dollars for telehealth services.
This is a 105 million dollar increase over the 2019 budget.
As technology advances, the VA has more and more opportunities to shape the future of healthcare.
How to register with the VA:
If this program is something you are interested in, be sure to have a conversation with your VA primary care provider.
If you aren't registered with the VA, you can:
- Walk into any VA clinic in West Texas and ask about the program
- Call 1 (877) 222-8387
- Sign up online at vets.gov
Even if you've been told you aren't eligible for veteran benefits like this in the past, West Texas VA clinics say it's never a bad idea to try again.