When Air Force Veteran Jackson Gerrard was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome – a form of blood cancer – he was overwhelmed. “When I was first told, it was like running into a brick wall. You need to have faith and trust in your doctor.”
Gerrard is currently receiving chemotherapy treatment under the direction of a VA oncologist. He expected high-quality care from VA, but maybe not in the way that he receives that care.
For his appointments, Gerrard drives 15 minutes to the Clarksburg VAMC in West Virginia to meet with Dr. Thomas Rodgers over clinical video telehealth (CVT). Dr. Rodgers is a top blood cancer specialist and is located over 300 miles away at the Durham VA Health Care System in North Carolina. If Gerrard had to drive to Durham, it would take him nearly six hours.
VA’s National TeleOncology Program is helping rural Veterans like Gerrard connect with cancer specialists, either through CVT or VA Video Connect, and avoid the long drive.