Fall is here and with it comes the flu and a lingering threat of a COVID-19 resurgence. VA encourages you to take precaution each time you check in for a health care appointment.

One way to do this is by checking in for your appointments using your smartphone. Smartphone check-in allows you to practice physical distancing more easily, while also offering ease and convenience.

VA staff assisting Veteran with smartphone check-in

Staff assists with smartphone check-in

Smartphone check-in when your personal information is up-to-date

If your facility offers smartphone check-in, you’ll see signage with a QR code within your appointment clinic prominently on display. To complete check-in, you have two options: scan the QR code or text check in to 53079.

You can check in up to 30 minutes before and 15 minutes after your appointment. If you have more than one appointment in a day, you’ll need to check in for each appointment separately.

You have the option to check in with a staff member if you prefer, or if you need to make changes to your insurance carrier, contact information, emergency contact, or next of kin.

Verify your personal information with the tap of a finger

To keep our records up to date, we ask that you verify your contact information, emergency contact and next of kin up to seven days before your appointment. You can verify this information after confirming your appointment through a text message appointment reminder.

Once you confirm your appointment, a second message with a link will be sent to start pre-check-in.

If you aren’t receiving text message appointment reminders, text “START” to 53079. You’ll then start to receive text message appointment reminders. You can also sign into VA.gov and add or update your contact information in your VA Profile at https://www.va.gov/change-address if necessary.

Pre-check-in streamlines but doesn’t eliminate the need for checking in on the day of your appointment.

Try smartphone check-in on your next visit

Smartphone check-in will be VA’s only self-service method of checking in for appointments at most VA health facilities starting in September 2022.

Whether you’re trying to practice physical distancing or not, commit to learning how it works. As time goes on, you may just discover that you like it.

By Doré Mobley

Communications specialist, VA Media Relations

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Published on Sep. 19, 2022

Estimated reading time is 1.9 min.

Views to date: 39,604


  1. Michael O'Keefe October 6, 2022 at 9:44 am

    I have tried to use the new system. And find it very confusing.. please bring back the kiosks also the travel reinbursment sucks!

  2. Rondall william Collins October 5, 2022 at 7:06 am

    I will give it a try

  3. Teresa D.Childs October 2, 2022 at 7:23 pm

    Very Helpful

  4. Thomas Bradley September 29, 2022 at 9:31 pm

    I’ll give it a try. I’m not confident it will work. I always try the kiosk and it has never accepted m card. I got a new card and it still didn’t work. As an octogenarian who has been tech savvy i like the idea.

  5. Tom Detweiler September 29, 2022 at 4:47 pm

    As long as smartphone use remains an Option I’ll be okay– i prefer talking to a person because they are also the Backup contact as needed, and they will know of any problems or changes that an online system will not, which is often. If I am a Vet and am already in the VA system, I should not need to register a bunch of duplicate data into yet another machine just to get logged in.

  6. Dennis gabel September 29, 2022 at 4:45 am

    100%disabled (ALS) in Philippines need help. NOW WHAT!!! Guess V.A. Just LET’s me DIE?? “YOU SERVED YOUR COUNTRY, NOW LET US SERVE YOU”

  7. Dennis Gabel September 29, 2022 at 4:36 am

    I’m told Manila Clinic Permanently Closed!?

  8. David Warner September 27, 2022 at 3:29 pm

    Why isn’t there a VA app for smartphone check in? Seems it would be so much easier.

  9. Tom Contreras September 26, 2022 at 10:32 pm

    I’m good, all’s well with smart phone check in. Thank you

  10. Sheila Berg September 26, 2022 at 8:16 pm

    Who thought of this! What if you don’t have a smart phone? Are Vets expected to stay outside and call? Multiple appointments require repeated texting! If you have physical disabilities how is this ADA sanctioned?

    • al October 7, 2022 at 11:08 pm

      yes not all VETS have phones.

  11. James McDonald September 26, 2022 at 6:42 pm

    Too bad they can’t integrate the travel-pay hassle into that! Waiting for the travel-pay documentation takes longer than my appointment!

  12. jesus flores September 26, 2022 at 6:27 pm

    Liked the old system better.

  13. JAMES E. GAY September 26, 2022 at 5:56 pm

    what was wrong with the Kiosk check in. There are a lot of older veterans that aren’t tech savy and
    this will just add another thing they have to learn. The problem with this is that the people who develope this type of thing
    don’t understand that old vets were in a war zone when all this techknology was being developed. Please put yourself in their
    shoes when you come up with these things you think are good for them.
    There are so many more things needed that the money used for this could have been spent on. The people in charge want to
    make the VA a show piece instead of concertrating on the needs of the Vets.

    • James Jenkins September 28, 2022 at 1:02 pm

      Agree with your comment. Its a major problem with the VA system.

      • Wanda Gail October 3, 2022 at 1:26 pm

        I agree the older vets are not up to date with all new things happening a va ! Plus they paying for the all the new rude ppl to sit at desk and the phone number. It rings and rings and never answers!

  14. James Schumer September 26, 2022 at 5:47 pm

    I will try this on my next visit will see if it works

  15. Mike Pomeroy September 26, 2022 at 5:41 pm

    I don’t get a signal at my primary care office. No biggie to me. I just as soon communicate with a receptionist. Then, I KNOW I am checked it. I’m old school, I guess! Just make it an individual choice! I’m good!

  16. Sam Harris September 26, 2022 at 5:32 pm

    I am an old guy and I have no problems with smartphone technology.

  17. Donald G Huggins September 26, 2022 at 1:06 pm

    Need to check into Raleigh III Clinic for mobile check-in. They are not seeing the check-ins show up at the check-in counter. People are being scheduled ahead of mobile check-ins that arrive 30 minutes later.

  18. Delwin Krohn September 26, 2022 at 8:39 am

    I do not have a smart phone. Please bring back the kiosk.

  19. Teresa D September 25, 2022 at 2:01 pm

    With all the talk about veteran stress and suicide we need to have simple options. No matter what your newest, latest, greatest item is just allow the regular in person check in if that’s what works best for the patient. Why not try catering to the needs of your patient? It’s not that hard. Don’t have a smart phone, no problem, love new tech, also no problem. Just keep it simple, it’s just a check in for God’s sake.

  20. Christopher Merlin September 25, 2022 at 12:06 pm

    Wow, what a bunch of surely old codgers. I’m 70, I’ve had a cell phone since 1994. Virtually ALL cell phones now are smartphones. If it has a camera, it can scan the code. Grow up guys.

    • Stan Bernal September 28, 2022 at 10:20 pm

      The people you are criticizing are the ones that have the problem not you. They need to be heard. PS–I am 74 and very tech savvy as well.

  21. J Pratt September 25, 2022 at 7:35 am

    Thanks for updating the new sign in procedure. I like this and will make every effort to use it…

  22. John Burleson September 24, 2022 at 12:27 pm

    Huh…? Did we pay somebody to come up with this rabbit hole?

  23. McCray September 23, 2022 at 6:03 pm

    Sounds good for checking in to appointment.

  24. Michael Coakley September 23, 2022 at 5:47 pm

    Great idea

  25. Dave Southworth September 23, 2022 at 4:37 pm

    That is great! Very happy to see this. I’ll definitely use it for my next appointment

  26. Robert A Stelmak September 23, 2022 at 3:49 pm

    Why fix what wasn’t broke Stop fooling around with us old guys i do not understand smart phone technology.

  27. Donald Owen September 23, 2022 at 12:42 pm

    Why would I want to do this your last version was a stand to check in and eventually a lot of them just didn’t work so we spend more money when the few seconds it takes to check in with a real person works just fine thank you.

    • Danny Haro September 26, 2022 at 9:43 am

      Will this work? VA already has some issues with the computers going down from time to time. Good that the person to person is still the same. With masks in place. This is the best way.

  28. Sammie Brown September 23, 2022 at 12:26 pm

    I think this is a very good idea it does save yourself from being in contact with someone and thus saving you from contracting any illnesses.

  29. STEVEN A FOLDY September 23, 2022 at 11:30 am

    Excuse me but there are some people who only have a flip phone and don’t want a smart phone. What are going to do with them? Force them to buy a smart phone?

    • Lynn Kilvington September 25, 2022 at 7:25 am

      My thoughts exactly! And what if I left my phone at home?

  30. Kelly Robertson September 23, 2022 at 11:27 am

    Love it- the easier the better and I didn’t like touching a dirty ole’ germed-up kiosk screen anyhow. I’m a Senior and I can’t imagine any adult child allowing their parents to NOT have a smart phone! I have a feeling some seniors replying here don’t realize their phone IS a smart phone. What’s the APP?

  31. Alton B. Pleasants II September 23, 2022 at 10:15 am

    Your Ad says get a smart phone with Vet. Benefits which is false.

  32. Tom Williams September 23, 2022 at 10:09 am

    I can’t remember when I have been so upset with the VA. I do not have a smart phone, nor will I ever for many reasons. I know I am not the only senior veteran (and non-senior) who does not have a smart phone. I resent being herded like a sheep to use a technology I do not like to facilitate an institutional fad. The Kiosks were convenient for everyone not just for the VA.

  33. g b September 23, 2022 at 9:03 am

    Well, they need to fix it all know phone not working email they send out is in code .

  34. Thomas E Peters September 23, 2022 at 8:17 am

    This system sucks.

    Bring back the Kiosks.
    Also, add for those who qualify for travel benefits to use the Kiosks to apply for travel and get rid of the computer system no one understands.

    Go back to faxing travel pay forms when using Community based medical.

    For those who travel over 50 miles pay them in cash. They need the money to pay for gas and food.

    Not everyone has smart phones. I did the texting..it didn’t sign me in. I did the QR code, it didn’t sign me in. I still had to get signed in by a human.

    Quit screwing with systems that worked. (Besides those systems had been paid for – only to be discarded is a waste of money.)

  35. Joe B September 23, 2022 at 8:07 am

    I miss the kiosk check-in system. The phone check-in would work for me, except I most often do not have internet access at the clinics in the DeBakey MC in Houston. Your fancy phone check-in simply doesn’t work if My phone cannot connect to the internet at the needed locations.

  36. Edward Moore September 23, 2022 at 7:20 am

    This week I had an appointment at the VA in Harlingen. It was the first time to see the “Check in by phone” signs. BUT, there is no internet access at the VA in Harlingen. I mentioned that to the VA staff and was told I have to check in from the parking lot. Unfortunately, there are no signs in the parking lot about check in. Time to provide some kind of internet access if we are expected to check in by iPhone.

  37. Tyrone September 23, 2022 at 5:28 am

    I’ve been using this method with my iPhone for the last two years it’s very simple you just have to understand the VA they’re trying to do away with human beings as soon as they can figure out how to fight wars without people they won’t need us anymore no more compensation it was easy for two years now they done away with it now it looks like they’re gonna try it again who knows I use it when I go to see my psychiatrist that gives me something to talk about

  38. Andrew J. Welser September 22, 2022 at 10:47 pm

    Osocda County, MI. Most of the veterans in the county cannot afford smart phones. Will the VA be giving smart phones to these veterans?

  39. J R Roscher September 22, 2022 at 10:19 pm

    Will there be another APP for doing?

  40. LYN AUSTIN September 22, 2022 at 9:15 pm

    Great news now can we get one for travel pay so we can file while waiting?

  41. Gusto16 September 22, 2022 at 8:20 pm

    Ladies and gentlemen. If you don’t like the system just don’t use it. It is NOT mandatory. We have a choice, no one is forcing us to use it. No technology is perfect. Do what you are comfortable doing,but, please let us stop all this whining.

  42. Dick September 22, 2022 at 7:47 pm

    Sack the coach now. Its absolutely pathetic . I have watched them from day one and this coach has no clue how to be a head coach.

  43. Richard Clyde Whitesell September 22, 2022 at 7:43 pm

    I prefer to use the kiosk, don’t like to use my cell phone for certain things. Kiosk produced a paper trail. Last time I went to VA, I used the check in desk and a person. People always trying to improve on something that works, leave it alone.

  44. Randy Dellinger September 22, 2022 at 7:02 pm

    It doesn’t work halve the time. People trying to check in the old way Travel pay you have to fill out a paper and use a pen someone in front of you was just using. I think the machines were much better

  45. Don Whidby September 22, 2022 at 6:58 pm

    The money spent on this should be spent on hiring more people to answer phones. Wait time to speak with someone is totally unacceptable.

  46. Mr. Brent September 22, 2022 at 6:58 pm

    This a great upgrade for us . Makes life little easier.

  47. Nate Riphenburg September 22, 2022 at 6:27 pm

    Will this allow us to request travel reimbursement?

  48. Gerald September 22, 2022 at 6:10 pm

    Total BS!… Us old timers don’t have cell phones!

  49. Anthony D Monte September 22, 2022 at 5:46 pm

    That’s great!

  50. Howie 808 September 22, 2022 at 5:42 pm

    I don’t own a smart phone. I have a flip phone

  51. Chris Hollis September 22, 2022 at 5:32 pm

    I live in Canada and I have to pay $10 each time I visit the US to get my messages via text.

  52. Mark September 22, 2022 at 4:53 pm

    The first time it fails to work will be the last time I try it. From then on I’ll check in in person. “Oops. Forgot my phone.”

  53. Ron B September 22, 2022 at 4:48 pm

    Always have good information in VA News. Wonder if there will ever be a way to file complaints via phone about VA services, people who don’t do their job, etc to the right departments other than filling out the mostly missing forms provided at some VAs?

  54. james Patterson September 22, 2022 at 3:23 pm

    typical government screwing something up that was simple and make difficult

  55. Thomas E Peterson September 22, 2022 at 1:41 pm

    Suggestion, please go back to the kiosk system. I request travel pay every time i go to va and never recieved diddly the last 5 trips.

    • David September 23, 2022 at 7:35 am

      They are still using the kiosk system where I receive care, and I haven’t been paid either. This week, I called and learned that the regional VA is understaffed and running behind (on travel reimbursements) by about 3.5 months. I asked why the mileage-reimbursement system wasn’t automated, and the person I spoke to said that it is automated, but that new software has been implemented and training is still under way. The VA is trying!

  56. Rev. Barbara A. Yovino September 22, 2022 at 1:18 pm

    I am the widow of a 100 percent disabled veteran. He died 20 years ago. I used to get a Champva card that gave me privileges to see a doctor at the VA. I have not had a card in years, and I am looking to change doctors that I have with my private insurance. Am I still entitled? If so, what do I need to do? The VA is so close to my home, and I am now in my 80s. I heard you also have dentists there. I am interested in knowing more. The VA took really awesome care of my husband, and I am always grateful. Thank you.

  57. Sylvia Bailey September 22, 2022 at 11:47 am

    Will the process include requesting travel pay?


  58. Leslie L Fornelius September 22, 2022 at 11:45 am

    Why fix what isn’t broken? Typical of the government! How much did this brainstorm cost the American taxpayers?

  59. joseph paulik September 22, 2022 at 11:28 am

    I do not care to use my cell phone for check in the machines were great my phone is eight years old with little memory left .I will have the clerks do my check in.Us war veterans do not care for your electronic technology.

  60. Carl E Jackson September 22, 2022 at 10:16 am

    As usually, you took some thing sooooo simple and tossed it. Now you have a system that very few understands. Phones that don’t do what you demand or no phones at all. Shame on you . Who ever came up with this system should be tied to an ant hill

  61. Rodney Fridley September 22, 2022 at 8:21 am

    I guess the Kiosk system was just too easy. I’ll just go back to checking in with the folks at the front desk. We are fortunate to have friendly and helpful employees at the CBOC here in Florence, SC.

  62. Suzette Weadick September 22, 2022 at 7:58 am

    Although our care at the Dayton , Ohio VA is top notch, the phone check in is not. I sit in the waiting area several times a week while my husband has PT. Every single veteran struggles . It almost never works . I hope you always keep a physical person at the desk. I hear the frustration from the veterans

  63. Joe M September 22, 2022 at 7:38 am

    Will the VA provide these smart phones?

  64. Dr David Martin September 22, 2022 at 7:36 am

    What is QR code

  65. Paul Neeld September 22, 2022 at 5:19 am

    As of now, the VA contacts me via U.S. Mail, E-Mail, and unknown phone numbers. I never know how I’ll be contacted next. I don’t need them texting me too. It would be better if they concentrated on getting a replacement doctor for my P.C. Doc that quit. As it stands now, I have no regular appointment scheduled that I know of.

  66. Colby H. September 22, 2022 at 1:18 am

    I have tried to use it for the last three visits, but like most of the VA app programs, it did not work. Luckily the staff was helpful as usual, but the apps need to go.

  67. Michele Jett September 22, 2022 at 1:15 am

    Easy to understand. Thank you.

  68. Carlos Adalberto Pantoja Pantoja September 22, 2022 at 12:59 am

    I hope that it will be easy to get in

    • Neco September 22, 2022 at 6:07 pm

      I think it’s a great ideal to keep up with technology. I understand the concerns of others. Therefore I think technology and a person needs to be used. I personally try to keep up-to-date with technology as it’s the new world. I rather be up-to-date on technology than behind technology like third world countries. We should Always try to improve ourselves and technology is the sprit of the future. So not learning today will be difficult learning in the future. So both need to be available

  69. Otis TURNER September 22, 2022 at 12:15 am

    when you are 73 year old it hard to learn new the you can ‘t .rememble yesterday

  70. Otis TURNER September 22, 2022 at 12:07 am

    I don’t have a smartphone my flip phone would not work

  71. Ferdinand Rivera September 22, 2022 at 12:00 am

    It’s about time for a simpler way. I am happy about the news.

  72. Thomas K. Moore September 21, 2022 at 11:18 pm

    This is a valuable resource that can speed up the process and eliminate the chance of falling for the handicapped veterans. I just love this and can hardly wait to see it VACCHCS has implemented this venue. My medical facility just keeps getting better!
    HM2 Moore

  73. Frederick Tripp September 21, 2022 at 10:48 pm

    Should be very useful.

  74. Robert C. September 21, 2022 at 10:42 pm

    I prefer the kiosk method of checking in for appointments. Sometimes I get a rude check in person who acts like they are having a bad day. Also, not every vet coming in has a smartphone or even knows how to use one. I have also had recurring problems after checking in, having to wait longer than necessary do to nurses not responding. If I have an appointment time and arrive on time, I expect the VA to do their part and keep on track as well. Seems like they prefer to argue about it rather than solving these problems.

  75. Jim B September 21, 2022 at 10:05 pm

    Does this still initiate a mileage reimbursement?

    • Linda Nash September 23, 2022 at 11:56 pm

      Smart checkin and online travel claim sites are horrible. Mostly because reception to internet connections in VAs are slow and the signals keep dropping. The Kiosk worked great. Patients and staff liked them They were more reliable and user friendly. Fyi.,.not everyone has a smart phone, and not every clinic has computer access for patients to file travel claims. Travel claims have to be completed online, after the completion of an appointment; if your appointment runs close to closing, good luck filing if you don’t have computer access or smart phone. Fyi…online check in was awful.,..took over 5 minutes as frames kept freezing.

  76. Andy September 21, 2022 at 9:49 pm

    This is a bad idea the older guys mostly have no clue about it, and the travel pay has to go through a site that’s a pain in the butt for me to access i have heard from over a dozen senior veterans that believe it’s a way to save money by cheating them out of travel pay, i have saved my congressman’s number in my phone so i can give it to the. It’s amazing to actually see a few of them call the off immediately. It’s what we have to do to change these things, no one else listens.

  77. Russell Mason September 21, 2022 at 9:24 pm

    This is a big failure! Something that took 30 seconds to check in now take forever. I finally had to go to the desk to check in. Then had to wait in line for ten minutes. After my appointment I tried to request travel pay once again something that took 30 took over a half hour even when I asked someone if I was doing something wrong they said no it should work. Then directed me to a room where I had to file out a hand form… biggest failure the VA came up with!!!!’

  78. William D. Hougham September 21, 2022 at 9:17 pm

    OK, so how do I check in with a smart phone?

  79. J Broadhead September 21, 2022 at 7:53 pm

    They had a good system with the kiosk now they’ve made it complicated assuming we all have smartphones

  80. Rita Egan September 21, 2022 at 7:45 pm

    There have been studies, recently released that state only 61% of seniors have smart phones and know how to access their capabilities. Is the VAMC aware of this data?

  81. Edward Luba September 21, 2022 at 7:43 pm

    What if you don’t have a smart phone. This is just too much anxiety for an older veteran. I agree with one soldiers comment.

  82. Warren L Doe September 21, 2022 at 7:20 pm

    I do not understand why the VA is getting rid of the machines we used to just insert our ID card. It also printed out a receipt for travel. You had a good thing and destroyed it for something not everyone can do. Not everyone has a smartphone.

    • Eileen Grubbs September 23, 2022 at 7:47 am

      The kiosks are outdated. Give it a try.

  83. Michael H Jones September 21, 2022 at 6:57 pm

    Why isn’t travel pay linked to each appointment check in?

    • Patricia Lynch September 22, 2022 at 12:13 pm

      Does this allow you to also request your mileage like the kiosks?

  84. Jerry R Cline September 21, 2022 at 6:47 pm

    Can I get a flu shot without an appointment at the Gallatin VA

  85. Mike September 21, 2022 at 6:45 pm

    It would be nice to set it up in such a way so that when you scan the QR code, it also logs your appointment for travel pay or even have a separate QR code just for travel pay. The stupid website and all the steps you have to go through is a pain in the ass and sometimes the site just crashes.

  86. Joseph Stock September 21, 2022 at 6:38 pm

    I wonder if we are losing one of the most important dimensions in health care — contact with another human being? For some this will be a benefit. For others, particularly older vets like myself, it will be another headache and a stressor that raises our blood pressure just when we need to lower it. Chaplain (COL-Ret), USA

  87. Mike Baynard September 21, 2022 at 6:26 pm

    You made it simple to check in, but took away the chance to sign up for the cash for cost of coming in. It was easy before, but no one has an easy way to do it now. Sounds like a way to avoid paying to many people. Not a good practice. My only complaint overall though.

  88. Nora M Devore September 21, 2022 at 6:09 pm

    Does not work

  89. Thomas S Barto September 21, 2022 at 6:04 pm

    Please tell us how/when to claim travel benefits?

    • Mark September 22, 2022 at 4:51 pm

      you have to either fill out a form by hand or use their quirky web site. It used to be easy. Now it’s a PITA. I guess if they keep making it harder, we’ll stop claiming and they’ll save money.

  90. James Potter September 21, 2022 at 6:01 pm

    I have tried this at the Dayton VA several times and it never works. There was nothing wrong with sticking your ID card in the reader and checking in.

  91. George B. Millett September 21, 2022 at 5:59 pm

    I followed the directions on the poster. I waited about three minutes after I typed “Check In.”
    I received a message “We’re sorry. Online check-in is not yet enabled for your clinic. Ask a staff member for help.”
    I showed the phone response to the front desk clerk and she checked me in.

    Despite seeing that message on my phone the clerk directed the next two vets to use the system and it produced the same results.
    One veteran kept getting nothing when he used his camera to take a picture of the QR Code. Why did he do this? Because the clerk kept telling him to use his phone to ‘copy’ the QR Code. She seemed to lack the information that one needs a QR Code Scanner on one’s phone.
    When I got home I checked my wife’s and son’s phones and they did not have anything relating to a QR Code Scanner.

  92. Celso September 21, 2022 at 5:59 pm

    I don’t have phone signal inside VA facility.

  93. Chris S. September 21, 2022 at 1:03 pm

    Well, my phone suggested this method last time I used “HERE”.
    So I used it at my appt on 8-18.
    I arrived early. Went through the follow up msg with my personal info. Then I recvd the msg, “you are checked in, proceed to the waiting area and you will be called in from there”. I waited a half hour pasted, then I went to counter. Receptionist said, “no you need to check in, we don’t do that here”. I stayed long enough to see nurse and get vitals, my BP way up, I fell apart and left. I was upset. Thank you for all you do. But this ruined my appt an my day.

  94. Mica September 21, 2022 at 10:48 am

    Although the distancing log in/qr code Is great for the younger generation that have smart phones, this also pushes the older veterans that don’t have them into a difficult spot. And just a bit of information, not all facilities have Wi-Fi or data access to actual use their new system. Which in turn frustrates and trigger the vets that are just there to get their health care provided.

  95. Lawrence Motzer September 19, 2022 at 4:23 pm

    I like this new Smartphone check in system

Comments are closed.

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