Partnership initiative provides timely telehealth care to Veterans in rural areas
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced today five Accessing Telehealth through Local Area Stations (ATLAS) sites in select Walmart stores have resumed clinical services to Veterans in rural areas.
VA suspended the operation of clinical services at all ATLAS sites, April 10, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and implement additional safety and infection control measures.
The reopened ATLAS sites give Veterans more options — allowing them to receive care without leaving their communities while offering the full privacy of a doctor’s office.
“The ATLAS initiative provides timely and convenient care to Veterans living in rural areas or with limited internet access,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Telehealth innovations are critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual appointments protect the safety and well-being of both our Veterans and providers.”
ATLAS sites offer services that do not require hands-on exams, such as primary care, nutrition, mental health counseling and social work. Establishing these points of care closer to Veterans’ homes, ATLAS reduces obstacles and increases access to care.
In accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency COVID guidelines for sanitation, the following Walmart Atlas sites have reopened.
- Keokuk, Iowa (Walmart #1431)
- Howell, Michigan (Walmart #1754)
- Asheboro, North Carolina (Walmart #1132)
- Boone, North Carolina (Walmart #2496)
- Fond du Lac, Wisconsin (Walmart #1643)
The Secretary plans to expand this initiative to more sites nationwide by 2023.
ATLAS is part of VA’s Anywhere to Anywhere initiative, which works to better serve the almost 9 million Veterans who receive care through VA — no matter where they choose to live. The Secretary’s Center for Strategic Partnerships has facilitated collaborations with Philips North America, The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Walmart to provide convenient locations with private appointment space for Veterans to receive care. Veterans meet with their VA providers at ATLAS sites through VA Video Connect, VA’s secure videoconferencing platform.
To learn more about ATLAS, visit VA’s Office of Connected Care.