VA partners with Bristol Myers Squibb to provide teleoncology services

Photo credit File photo

The Department of Veterans Affairs is teaming with the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation to bring teleoncology programs to veterans, no matter where they live.

The foundation has pledged $4.5 million in grant funds to VA over three years to help establish a national teleoncology center to more effectively reach veterans living in rural communities, according to a VA release.

Facilitated by the VA Center for Strategic Partnerships the grant will utilize VA's telehealth infrastructure allowing veterans access to teleoncology platforms under the foundation’s Global Cancer Disparities Initiative.

Sick vets should use virtual care options, VA says

The partnership will provide genetic counseling to veterans undergoing sequencing, the release said. Veteran oncology patients will also be eligible to receive a range of potentially life-saving clinical trials — even if they live a distance away from a VA medical center.

Veterans enrolled in VA health care are two and a half times more likely to live in rural areas where access to specialty care is limited, the release notes.

“Delivering innovative solutions through virtual care technologies is vital,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie

The program will work in collaboration with VHA’s existing precision oncology initiative, the release continues. 

VA and VFW partner to bring healthcare to rural areas

“By developing, implementing and standardizing workflow processes, this project will expedite the expansion of a model for delivering specialized oncology care in a virtual setting — and help cancer care teams provide the utmost patient experience in a virtual care environment,” said Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation President John L. Damonti. 

The foundation’s grant will also be used to create a human-centered design training program.

“As an oncologist and a veteran of the Army, I welcome the support provided by this grant,” said American Society of Clinical Oncologists President Dr. Howard A. “Skip” Burris III.

For more information about VA telehealth, visit connected care.

Reach Julia LeDoux at
Want to stay more connected to all the stories and resources Connecting Vets has to offer? Click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter.