To increase access to health care for all Veterans, VA has created VEText, an interactive mobile solution to remind Veterans of upcoming appointments via text messaging.
More than 9 million VA health care appointments are missed each year.
VEText has sent appointment reminders to more than five million Veterans
The goal is to offer a quick and easy way to confirm or cancel appointments and then schedule another Veteran into that time slot if possible. Just since the program began in March, the national no-show rate has declined from 13.68 percent to 12.22 percent.
Beginning October 1, Veterans throughout the nation will be receiving interactive VEText appointment reminders on their mobile devices. Most are receiving the reminders now.
Make sure your VA medical center has your current cell phone number
Every Veteran with a cell phone number listed in their health record is automatically enrolled in the program, so it is very important for Veterans to ensure that your local medical center has your current phone numbers.
Veterans may update their phone numbers during check-in at their next appointment, or use the self-service kiosks located throughout our facilities.
The first text message reminder will be sent seven days before the appointment and a second reminder text message will be sent two days day before the appointment. The timing/frequency of the reminders may vary by facility.
Veterans should review the date and time of each appointment and use the prompts provided in the message to either confirm or cancel the appointment. Veterans with multiple appointments on the same day will receive multiple reminders.
As of May 31, 2018, VEText has sent appointment reminders to more than five million unique Veterans with over 9 million messages exchanged. Also, the system has allowed 134,000 appointments to be cancelled via a simple response, creating an open slot for another Veteran and possibly preventing a no-show.
Don’t text? You can opt out.
The VEText system also has an easy to use opt-out process for Veterans who do not want to use the text messaging reminders. Simply reply to the text message with “STOP.” Additionally, all appointment reminder messages contain instructions on how to end the message delivery. If you want to restart the text message appointment reminders, simply text “START” to a previous reminder message and service will resume.
VEText works for VA health care appointments only and the text messages do not currently replace the letters and automated phone calls Veterans already receive for appointment reminders.
For more information please visit our VEText FAQ’s page: https://www.va.gov/HEALTH/vetext_faqs.asp
Text messaging rates may apply depending on your individual cell phone plan.
Deanna Callahan is the VEText Program Manager for the VHA Office of Veterans Access to Care.