US Veterans Affairs Agency to fund series of innovative telemedicine projects

Washington 26 February 1999 The United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) has decided to fund an extensive number of leading-edge projects that will use telemedicine to enhance the home care of paralyzed veterans. The VA's new Telemedicine in Home Care initiative will be applied in fifteen centres specialized in spinal cord injury and dysfunction (SCI/D), which are located in the VA health care facilities of eleven different states. The ambitious programme, for which a budget of over $500.000 has been earmarked, will serve veterans across the entire nation.

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The United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) has decided to fund an extensive number of leading-edge projects that will use telemedicine to enhance the home care of paralyzed veterans. The VA's new Telemedicine in Home Care initiative will be applied in fifteen centres specialized in spinal cord injury and dysfunction (SCI/D), which are located in the VA health care facilities of eleven different states. The ambitious programme, for which a budget of over $500.000 has been earmarked, will serve veterans across the entire nation.

Togo D. West Jr., the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, states that the selected projects are bound to demonstrate the value of a relatively cost-effective and newly emerging technology. Telemedicine in Home Care will substantially improve the quality of care for some of the most medically fragile patients. Many of the people, served by the Veterans Affairs Agency, are suffering from complicated disabilities.

The primary objective of the Telemedicine in Home Care programme is to optimize the timely access to qualitative health care for patients who have spinal cord injury, from the moment they are switching over from hospital to home care. These projects are the latest in a series of measures, the VA has implemented in recent years to significantly increase the focus on the fate of paralyzed veterans.

The project awards are assigned to the following list of VA Medical Centres: Albuquerque in New Mexico; Augusta in Georgia, Brockton/West Roxbury in Massachusetts; the Bronx in New York, which is the hub for three different projects; Cincinatti in Ohio; Dallas in Texas; Hines in Illinois; Long Beach in California; Memphis in Tennessee; Milwaukee in Wisconsin; Palo Alto and San Diego, both in California; and Seattle in Washington.


Leslie Versweyveld

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