All 152 Department of Veterans Affairs’ medical centers across the country have posted live, active Facebook pages. VA hopes these Facebook pages will create yet another avenue for communication and transparency between VA and Veterans.
“This event marks an important milestone in the overall effort to transform how VA communicates with Veterans and provides them the health care and benefits they have earned,” VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said in a statement. “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 degree to which each VAMC’s page is used varies, and thus far appears to be a one-way street rather than a two-way conversation.
For example, several VAMCs are using their Facebook pages to post pertinent medical news updates and information about VA benefits, in addition to providing notices usually reserved for traditional bulletin boards, such as community events.
Veterans have not yet demonstrated active use of these pages, aside from “liking” them. As time passes, however, the Facebook pages may become an important forum for Veterans to ask questions and post constructive criticism, as some Veterans have already begun to do on the Dayton VAMC’s Facebook page.