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Miami VA Healthcare System

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Telehealth saves Veteran time, travel

Army Veteran Jeffrey Weinstock, left, meets with Dr. Erica Dombrowsky, audiologist, through Clinical Video Telehealth.

Army Veteran Jeffrey Weinstock, left, meets with Dr. Erica Dombrowsky, audiologist, through Clinical Video Telehealth.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Retired Army Major Jeffrey Weinstock has been wearing hearing aids for nearly 30 years, after artillery fire during his service in Vietnam damaged his hearing. After moving to Key West from New York recently, he was expecting a difficult transition changing VA facilities and replacing his old hearing aids.

“There is a feeling of, oh my goodness, what’s next?” he said. “How many hoops will I have to jump through when I change places?”

During his first visit to the Key West VA Outpatient Clinic, he was surprised. He was able to quickly and seamlessly transfer his VA health care to the Miami VA Healthcare System and even schedule lab and medical appointments. At the second visit, he met with Dr. Douglas Bond to discuss his health.

“I never felt rushed and again felt he was really concerned about me and about my health."

Before making his third visit, Weinstock was worried he might have to make the 300-mile round trip—one that under the best traffic conditions can take three to four hours in one direction—from Key West to the Bruce W. Carter VA Medical Center in Miami to receive his audiology care. On Aug. 25, he went to the Key West VA’s Telehealth Audiology Walk-in Clinic and experienced his first Clinical Video Telehealth medical appointment.

Clinical Video Telehealth brings specialists to the Veterans and saves Veterans and their families the cost and inconvenience of traveling by road, rail or air to the nearest VA hospital. The Key West VA Outpatient Clinic is one of 700 VA community-based outpatient clinics nationwide using Telehealth technology to make diagnoses, manage care, perform check-ups, and deliver care to Veterans.

During the walk-in clinic, Weinstock met with Dr. Erica Dombrowsky, audiologist, and Lilith Brodsky, audiology resident, who were in Miami at the time, through Clinical Video Telehealth and with Telehealth Clinical Technician Pattianne Miller, who was located at the clinic. To his surprise, he received a comprehensive hearing exam and ordered a new set of hearing aids the same day. Even though he had just met with a doctor who was more than 160 miles away, Weinstein said he didn’t notice a difference from an in-person audiology appointment and could tell Dombrowsky and the Key West employees really cared about him and his concerns.

“I have been so impressed with everyone I met, from the frontline administrative staff to my providers,” he said.

Elizabeth, left, and Jeffrey Weinstock smiling.

Jeffrey's Weinstock's wife, Elizabeth, was most affected by his hearing loss. Both are grateful for Jeffrey's new, improved hearing aids and the support they received at the Key West VA Outpatient Clinic.

His wife, Elizabeth, remembers his reaction when he returned from the clinic later that day.

“He came home so happy,” she said. “He had such wonderful things to say about everyone he encountered and worked with.”

Weinstock returned with his wife to the clinic on Sept. 15, and was fitted with the new hearing aids. Neither of them still could believe everything had been accomplished in just three weeks. He was extremely pleased with the sound quality of the new devices and his ability to hear on his cell phone, something he had never been able to do with his older hearing aids.

“This is truly life-changing, and I couldn’t be more delighted with this experience! We are so grateful.”

October is National Audiology Awareness Month and a good time for Veterans to think about their hearing. The Miami VA Healthcare System offers walk-in Clinical Video Telehealth Audiology services at the Homestead VA Community Based Outpatient ClinicKey Largo VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic and the Key West VA Outpatient Clinic during the following times:

Veterans can also schedule Telehealth audiology appointments at all three clinics.

For more information about audiology services available at the Miami VA, visit the Miami VA Audiology Services page or call 305-575-3148. To learn more about how VA is using Clinical Video Telehealth nationwide to care for America’s Veterans, visit www.telehealth.va.gov.

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