DAILY DOT COM - The Department of Veterans Affairs announced today that all of its 152 medical centers are now actively represented on Facebook, the world's largest social networking site.
"This event marks an important milestone in the overall effort to transform how VA communicates with Veterans and provide them the health care and benefits they have earned," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "Veterans and their families told us from the beginning that they want to engage and they want relevant information delivered at the local level. By leveraging Facebook, the Department continues to expand access to VA, and embrace transparency and two-way conversation."
The process that began with a single Veterans Health Administration Facebook page in 2008 has now produced over 150 Facebook pages, 64 Twitter feeds, a YouTube channel, a Flickr page, and the VAntagePoint blog.
"Veterans of all eras are depending on us to get the right information to the right person at the right time," said Brandon Friedman, VA's director of online communications, and a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. "With more troops returning home, we also have a responsibility to connect with the thousands of Servicemembers who have been—and will be—entering our system. They're using social media, so that's where we need to be. Facebook helps us do that."
The VA Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System which serves approximately 60,000 veterans along the Gulf Coast through federal health care facilities in Biloxi, Miss., Mobile, Al., and Pensacola, Eglin Air Force Base and Panama City in Northwest Florida, has established a Facebook site.
Unlike your personal Facebook page, there are boundaries as to what can be discussed. VA clinicians can't discuss the specific health concerns of individual Veterans on Facebook, but that doesn't prevent staff from monitoring VA's sites closely each day—and providing helpful information to Veterans when they can. In the last year, for instance, VA's Crisis Line counselors have successfully intervened on Facebook in cases where Veterans have suggested suicidal thoughts or presented with other emotional crises.
For more information, please visit the sites below:
·Directory of All VA Social Media Sites .
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