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VA Southern Nevada launches self-appointment system

Wait time; it is one of the inconvenient consequences of modern technology.

A person places a phone call to a busy entity and is then placed on hold, sometimes with no idea as to how long that might last. It can be an annoying experience under ordinary circumstances but when trying to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment, it can be more than just annoying; it can be downright aggravating.

In an attempt to avoid such aggravation, the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System has implemented a brand new system that gives veterans the opportunity to schedule their vaccines without any wait time.

“VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System is offering a new COVID vaccine scheduling tool that will allow enrolled veterans to schedule their vaccine appointment without having to make a phone call,” a press release from VASNHS announced.

The process is quite simple. All a veteran needs to do is pick up their cell phone and text the word “Vaccine” to the number 53079. They will receive a reply and they can then select from available appointment slots, completely eliminating the frustration that can come with a long stint of “hold music”.

“VEText will start the direct scheduling process. VASHNS is deploying this new option so veterans can schedule their vaccine faster, without wait times that are often associated with scheduling by phone,” the press release detailed.

For those who may be unable to use text messaging or those who simply want to speak to a live person over the phone when scheduling their vaccine, appointments can still be scheduled by calling 702-791-9185.

As of today, VASNHS veterans who are already enrolled in VA health care remain the priority but in the near future, eligibility to receive a vaccine through the VA set to expand following the signage of the SAVE LIVES Act.

“At this time, VA still has a limited supply of vaccines and must continue to prioritize vaccinations and health care delivery to veterans currently enrolled in VA health care. VA is working diligently to determine how quickly the Veterans Health Administration can begin to offer vaccines to other groups,” the news release read.

As detailed by the VA Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, other groups that are now eligible include veterans who are not already enrolled in VA health care, including those without service-connected disabilities and those who have incomes above the VA’s threshold. Overseas veterans who rely on the Foreign Medical Program are also eligible.

Caregivers who are enrolled in either the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers or the Program of General Caregiver Support Services are eligible, as are caregivers enrolled in certain geriatrics and extended care programs. Recipients of civilian health and medical programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs and veterans’ spouses are eligible too. It is hoped that vaccine allotments to the VA will soon increase so all of these groups will be able to schedule a vaccine appointment with the VA.

“In the meantime, veterans, caregivers, spouses and CHAMPVA beneficiaries newly eligible under the law can go to www.va.gov/covid-19-vaccine to register and indicate their interest in receiving a vaccine from VA,” the release explained. “Signing up will also give users regular updates about VA’s vaccine rollout process.”

Updates regarding the expansion of vaccine services to newly eligible groups will also be posted to VASNHS’s COVID-19 vaccine website at www.lasvegas.va.gov/services/covid-19-vaccines.asp

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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