The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently launched VEText, a text messaging appointment-reminder system, which to date has helped VA reduce no-show medical visits by more than 100,000.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do I have to sign up for VEText?
A: This system automatically enrolls the Veteran into VEText based on the phone information already on file in our system, and will send reminder text messages their scheduled appointments.
Q: I do not want text message reminders for my appointments. How do I stop them?
A: Veterans can easily opt-out anytime by replying STOP to end the messages. All appointment reminder messages contain instructions on how to end the text messages.
Q: I accidentally opted out! What do I do?
A: Veterans can opt-in by replying "START" to a previous reminder message or by calling their local VA Medical Center to request VEText service to resume.
Q: Will I receive reminder text messages for all my scheduled appointments?
A: Veterans will receive text message reminders for clinic appointments at your local medical center and outpatient clinics. Veterans will not receive text message reminders for appointments in Lab, Community Care, Research, Telephone Clinics, and HBPC.
Q: What if I have multiple appointments on the same date?
A: If a Veteran has multiple appointments on the same date, the system will send a single text message identifying both appointments individually and providing separate options for confirming or cancelling each appointment individually.
Q: What happens if I don't respond to the text message?
A: If you do not respond to the text message reminder, your appointment will remain scheduled.
Q: How do I update my phone number with the VA?
A: Veterans can update their phone number during the check-in or out process for any appointment or at any kiosk.
Q: Will this cost me anything?
A: VEText will not cost the Veteran anything, with the possible exception of any text messaging charges associated with the Veteran's cell phone carrier. Standard text messaging rates will apply.
Q: Will my Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and/or Protected Health Information (PHI) be included on the appointment reminders?
A: PII and PHI will not be included in text messages. This includes the clinic name. However, we are working on a process where the patient can opt-in to receive enhanced appointment reminders which will include additional appointment details.
Q: Will I still receive phone call and postcard reminders?
A: Yes! VEText will not replace letters, postcards, or automated phone call reminders. The text messages will serve as an additional reminder.
Q: Why do I have to respond with specific numbers or letters instead of just Y or N to confirm or cancel my appointments?
A: Due to how the VEText platform has been designed, it uses specific confirm/cancel codes. It allows the platform to match your response with a specific appointment. For example, you may have more than one appointment on a specific day, and receive more than one text message reminder. If you just respond "Y" or "N", then the VEText platform wouldn't know which appointment the response was in reference to. Replying with the confirm/cancel codes provided, allows VEText to match your response with the correct appointment