You May Be Eligible for a Free iPad from the VA

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The Department of Veterans Affairs recently announced a new collaboration with Apple to increase veterans' access to virtual care benefits by providing free iPads to some vets.

The VA program gives qualifying veterans cellular-enabled iPads to access telehealth services; it currently helps more than 50,000 vets across the country virtually connect to VA health care services. It has recently been expanded as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you are a veteran enrolled in VA health care, don't have internet access or a video device, and are interested in the program, you should consult your VA health care team to see whether you're eligible for the program.

The iPads let veterans participate in video appointments with their care team, and enable secure communication between the veteran and VA medical staff. Besides offering secure video communication, the iPads let veterans securely view and download their personal medical data using the Health Records on iPhone feature from Apple; view their health record; refill prescriptions; track their health and more. Veterans can safely meet with their care team without having to visit a VA medical center, use public transportation or possibly be exposed to health hazards.

"VA will continue working diligently to provide veterans with the tools and resources necessary to access quality health care when and where they need it," said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. "VA's partnership with Apple is an integral step in helping to bridge the digital divide for veterans everywhere. This is particularly critical during the COVID-19 public health emergency, when telehealth is being leveraged to protect the safety and well-being of both our veterans and clinicians."

The program has been in existence since 2016, and a recent VA study found that veterans who received the free iPads reported high levels of satisfaction with care, were less likely to miss appointments, and found it easier and more convenient to access VA care.

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