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Telemedicine Brings Health Care To Tempe Veterans' Homes

A partnership between the city of Tempe and the Phoenix Veterans Affairs has brought health care to the homes of almost 70 veterans there in its first year.

Here’s how the Veterans Telemedicine program works:

Registered nurses with Tempe Fire Medical Rescue visit the homes of veterans deemed high risk by the Veterans Affairs and connect them to their VA doctors via video conference.

“The target population is those at the highest risk who we believe over the course of the next year, we will see in an emergency setting,” said Kyle Brayer, the Tempe Fire Rescue Department’s medical services captain.

Common diagnoses include diabetes, post traumatic stress disorder and congestive heart failure. Brayer said these visits reduce the strain on the VA but also Tempe’s emergency response teams.

‘We’re getting to them long before the emergency happens,” said Brayer, himself a veteran of the Marine Corps.

Brayer says with grants, the telemedicine program hopes to hire another nurse and double the number of Tempe veterans served.

Mariana Dale rustles up stories as a senior field correspondent based out of KJZZ’s East Valley Bureau in Tempe. She’s followed a microphone onto cattle ranches, to the Dominican Republic and many places in between. Dale believes in a story’s strength to introduce us to diverse perspectives, inspire curiosity and hold public leaders accountable for their actions. She started at KJZZ on the digital team in 2016 and still spends a lot of time thinking about how to engage with our community online. Dale has learned from stints at Arizona Public Media, The Arizona Daily Star, The Arizona Republic and as an intern at NPR’s Morning Edition in Culver City. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Dale is grateful for the mentoring of the New York Times Student Journalism Institute, the Chips Quinn Scholars program and AIR’s New Voices Scholars. A desert native, she loves spending time outside hiking, tending to her cactus and reading.