Charles George VA Medical Center - Asheville, NC
Just Text 'Here"
By WNC VA Health Care System Public Affairs
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Western North Carolina VA Health Care System Veterans going to VA medical appointments are now using their cell phones to check in without having to worry about sitting in crowded waiting rooms.
All the Health Care System’s facilities – including Charles George VA Medical Center, Rutherford County, Franklin and Hickory Community Based Outpatient Clinics – are now using VEText Mobile Check-in as another way to protect Veterans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
VEText is a texting application that has been used to send Veterans updates and reminders for a while, so the program is not something radically new for Veterans.
“Due to restrictions associated with the pandemic, the capacity for waiting areas in all VA facilities has been reduced,” Vance Janes, Western North Carolina VA Health Care System Public Affairs Officer, said. “VEText Mobile Check-in provides an option for Veterans to check in using their cell phones and then wait in their vehicles until their providers are ready to see them.
“VEText Mobile Check-in does not take the place of the current check-in process,” Janes added.
HOW IT WORKS
Veterans must have a text-capable cell phone number on file with the VA. If a Veteran is unsure if his or her number is on file, he or she should contact their care team or verify the information when they’re contacted to schedule an appointment. The number used to text from must be the same number in a Veteran’s file.
Once Veterans arrive to the facility for their scheduled appointment and park, they will text the word “here” to 53079. That will alert the care team that the Veteran is at the facility and is waiting to be called to his or her appointment.
The Veteran will receive a text response verifying the care team is aware that he or she is on site.
Once the care team is ready, the Veteran will receive a text instructing him or her to enter the building and proceed to their appointment. When the Veteran enters the facility, he or she will report to the clinic as scheduled.
“This program provides a way for us to see more Veterans while complying with the CDC guidelines regarding physical distancing,” Janes said. “It increases the safety for the Veterans and staff, and it reduces the wait time inside the facility.”
Note: If a Veteran does not have a text capable cell phone or a vehicle to wait in, he/she can proceed to the entrance to receive assistance from our screeners. Veterans should allow enough time for COVID-19 screening and report to the clinic of their scheduled appointment no more than 15 minutes before the appointment time.
For more information on VEText Mobile Check-in, visit the VA website at https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/77813/va-launches-new-virtual-check-feature/Please follow our Facebook page at @AshevilleVAMC for the latest updates.