The Albany V.A. Medical Center should provide safer care for disabled veterans during this pandemic through the use of telehealth exams. Because disabled veterans are among the most vulnerable citizens, in-person exams at the Albany V.A. could expose veterans to the deadly virus.
I am a Vietnam veteran with serious medical conditions caused by Agent Orange exposure. This puts me and many disabled veterans in the at-risk category for contracting COVID-19.
Recently, I was denied a telehealth exam by the Albany V.A. and was told by the doctor that he would not renew my prescriptions unless he personally examined me in the V.A. office. This would require me to ride in a confined elevator within a hospital that cares for COVID-19 patients.
In my opinion, this option for medical care could have deadly results for disabled veterans like myself. Over 1,600 employees in V.A. facilities nationwide tested positive for COVID-19. Limiting exposure to COVID-19 for disabled veterans would be in our best interest.
Whenever possible, family doctors offer their most vulnerable patients the option of telehealth exams by phone or video. This same care and courtesy should be offered to disabled veterans. Disabled veterans are often forgotten by our state and federal government. We are vulnerable citizens who fought to defend our country and we paid the price with our health. To the directors of the Albany V.A., provide safer care for disabled veterans through telehealth exams.
Harry P. Richard, Burnt Hills