August 31, 2020

Virtual Nevada Tour 2020: Cortez Masto Hosts Virtual Roundtable With Veterans to Discuss Telehealth Services

Las Vegas, Nev. – As part of her Virtual Nevada Tour, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) today hosted a virtual roundtable discussion with veterans from the Pahrump community who use the Veterans Affairs (VA) health care services. Since the COVID-19pandemic began, the VA Southern Healthcare System (VASNHS) has prioritized transitioning available appointments for health care and mental health to virtual and telephone. The conversation was focused on veterans’ telehealth experience with the VA during the pandemic and the challenges presented in delivering optimal care in rural communities such as Pahrump.

“Nevada is proud to have a large veteran community presence; they are our neighbors, co-workers, friends, family and more. They have given so much in service to this country, and we must ensure that they have access to the proper health care—and mental health treatment they need. I hosted this roundtable discussion to hear directly from health care experts and veterans about the benefits of telehealth and the challenges presented by COVID-19. As more veteran health care centers transition medical appointments to virtual visits and telephone, I’m committed to getting our veterans the quality health care they deserve.”

BACKGROUND:

Senator Cortez Masto met virtually with Nye County veterans to discuss the VA rural telehealth experience during COVID-19.

At today’s virtual roundtable, Senator Cortez Masto was joined by:

  • Dr. Leslie Sarna, VIMPACT Primary Care Physician, San Francisco VA Healthcare System
  • Dr. Lowryanne Vick, Telehealth Program Manager, VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System
  • Dr. Maia Carter, Chief of Primary Care, VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System
  • Mr. Tim Jobin, Associate Chief of Staff for Mental Health, VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System

The VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System has significantly increased virtual appointments from 14% to 42% from February 2020- July 2020, representing a 38% increase. Pre-COVID, 86% of appointments were conducted in-person. Additionally, the VA has developed mobile apps available to the veterans and the general population specific for mental health such as the COVID Coach app.

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