Veterans enrolled for care with Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 8 and who have urgent medical questions can call the Clinical Contact Center 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week.
Veterans who call 877-741-3400 will be connected with medical support assistants, nurses, licensed independent practitioners and pharmacists. They can get answers on general health questions or have a virtual visit with a doctor. Equally important, there is no copay.
The Clinical Contact Center has taken more than 100,000 calls since it launched last July.
The service is available 365 days a year. Veterans can call when they have a non-emergency medical condition or are unable to see their primary care provider. As a result, the service provides a convenient alternative to the emergency room, urgent care center or clinic.
Patients can download the VA Video Connect app on Android, iOS and Windows mobile and web-based devices to enter a private video session with practitioners.
The VA Sunshine Healthcare Network operates the service. As a result, only Veterans who are enrolled for care within VISN 8 can use it. The VA Sunshine Healthcare Network is the nation’s largest system of hospitals and clinics. It serves more than 1.5 million Veterans across Florida, South Georgia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Doesn’t replace care providers
The Clinical Contact Center should not replace Veterans’ primary care provider. However, Center staff can prescribe medicine, when needed. Veterans can pick the medicine up at the closest VA facility with a pharmacy or a community pharmacy, or can receive the medicine by mail.
Center personnel add information regarding clinical interactions in the Veteran’s medical records.
Suzanne Klinker is VISN 8’s deputy network director for the Clinical Contact Center. She said, “It’s our privilege to meet and exceed the needs of Veterans around the clock from their home, work, school or wherever they may be. We are so happy that this access to care in the virtual environment is making a great, positive difference in the lives of many.”
The Clinical Contact Center team is VHA Office of Nursing Services-based. In fact, VISN 8 is the first fully comprehensive Clinical Contact Center VA operates.
VA is supporting Clinical Contact Center modernization. VA Medical Center call centers collectively respond to tens of millions of telephone calls each year.
Photos by Mike Strickler, multi-media chief for the Orlando VA Healthcare System.