Sioux Falls VA Health Care System
Sioux Falls, VA Hospital Is Launching VEText
Starting early April 2018, the Sioux Falls, VA Hospital is launching VEText, a convenient text message system to remind Veterans of appointments and allow them to confirm or cancel an appointment with a text message reply. In addition to the convenience offered to Veterans, the text messaging system allows VA to offer unused appointments to other Veterans.
Every enrolled Veteran who has a cell phone number listed in his or her health record is automatically enrolled in the program.
The text messages do not currently replace the letters and automated phone calls Veterans already receive for appointment reminders, but provide another communication channel between the Sioux Falls VA and Veterans.
“The helpful thing about the program is the convenience offered to Veterans in managing their appointments,” said James Stainbrook, Group Practice Manager for the Sioux Falls VA Medical Center.
Because Veterans are automatically enrolled with VEText, it’s important for them and VA staff to make sure phone numbers are updated. This can be done during check-in for appointments or by using the self-service kiosks located at the medical center and the outpatient clinics.
The first message will go out seven days before the appointment, and the Veteran will receive another text reminder two days before the appointment. Veterans should review the date and time of each appointment and use the prompts provided in the message to confirm or cancel the appointment. Veterans will receive multiple reminders if they have multiple VA appointments on the same day.
The system also includes an easy to use opt-out process for Veterans who do not want to use it - simply reply to the text message with “STOP.” All appointment reminder messages contain instructions about how to end messages.
VEText works for VA appointments only. The Sioux Falls VA does not send text reminders for Care in the Community appointments. Text messaging rates may apply according to individual phone plans.
If a Veteran opts out and wants to restart text message appointment reminders, he/she can simply text “START” to a previous reminder message, and service will resume; or they can text “START” to 909-954-0651.
For more information about VEText, please contact James Stainbrook at 605-336-3230, Ext. 9-7580.