‘Health Buddy’ keeps veterans connected to VA care
: How does a a tabletop text-messaging device called "Health Buddy" work?
Answer: The Health Buddy is telemedicine available to qualified VA patients. The device is a small telehealth appliance (5 inches by 9 inches) that weighs just over one pound. It can travel with the veteran on trips and vacations as long as access to the Internet is available.
It means that patients diagnosed with any of 45 disorders (including congestive heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, diabetes, mental illness and hypertension) can transmit daily health status reports to their VA care coordinators. Veterans accomplish this by means of a text dialogue. By pressing one of four buttons, they answer multiple-choice questions about their breathing, weight and exercise.
Since 2004, two extra ports have been provided that allow plug-in digital attachments that calculate weight, blood pressure and pulse oximetry. The data travel over the Internet to VA care coordinators, who then counsel patients on health strategies or alert them to the need for immediate medical intervention.
To be eligible for Health Buddy, patients must have chronic ailments. They cannot be substance abusers or visually handicapped. Veterans or their caretakers must have the ability to work the program.
For more information on Health Buddies or how to qualify for one, contact the VA at 433-0600.
Q: My husband served in World War II and recently died. How do I go about obtaining a presidential memorial certificate?
A: Certificates signed by the president are issued upon request to recognize the military service of honorably discharged deceased veterans. Next of kin, other relatives and friends may request them in person at any VA regional office or by mail: Presidential Memorial Certificates; Department of Veterans Affairs; 5109 Russell Road; Quantico, VA 22143-3909.
Requests should include a copy, not the original, of the deceased veteran's discharge document and indicate the address where the certificate should be sent. Additional information and a sample certificate can be found on the Internet: www.cem.va.gov/pmc.htm. You can also call the Honolulu VA Regional Office at (800) 827-1000.
If you have questions about your benefits as a veteran, call Fred Ballard at the Veterans Affairs at 433-0049 or visit the VA Web site at www.va.gov/hawaii
or the Star-Bulletin at 529-4747.