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Joined Forces: How Tempe Fire Medical Rescue Department and Phoenix VA combine house calls and technology to bring health care to city’s veterans

Post Date:02/16/2017 10:00 AM

(Tempe, AZ) - Military veterans with high-risk health conditions who live in Tempe are getting health care in the comfort of their own homes thanks to a partnership between the Tempe Fire Medical Rescue Department and the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care System.  The two entities have joined forces to create a Veterans Telemedicine Program that has been helping some of Tempe’s more than 13,000 veterans conserve their health.  “Joined Forces”, a newly-produced video by Tempe11, highlights two of the veterans in the program.

The telemedicine program combines an old-fashion house call with modern technology to allow the Tempe fire department’s nursing team and the VA medical staff to concurrently monitor the program participants, who are selected by the Phoenix VA. The registered nurses provide the hands-on health assessment while a VA nurse practitioner consults with the patient via a video conferencing platform to determine their medical needs.

“Our city high-risk veterans now have an alternative to stressful and costly emergency room visits,” said Tempe Fire Chief Greg Ruiz. “We believe there are more veterans in our city who have health conditions that may benefit from this program.” Veterans can contact the Tempe fire department or consult with their VA doctor about the program, which has been in progress for about a year and was recommended to the fire department by Vice Mayor Robin Arredondo-Savage.

VA enrolled veterans who live in Tempe can call the fire department’s Patient Advocacy Services at 480-858-7241, which is a non-emergency number for the Emergency Medical Services division.

The Tempe fire department provides the nursing team through its Patient Advocacy Services - a community health program created in partnership with Tempe St. Luke’s Hospital to help reduce the city’s emergency call volume and emergency room visits. The Veterans Telemedicine Program is funded by a gaming grant from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

To learn more about the program and to watch the video, go to www.tempe.gov/medical.

Sign up for more Fire News by going to the notification page:  www.tempe.gov/firenews.

Media contacts:

Marie Chapple Camacho, Tempe /480-848-6899
Paul Coupaud, VA / 602-222-2667

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