VA and Fitbit help support Veterans’ health and wellness during COVID-19 pandemic

Select eligible Veterans, caregivers and VA staff to receive access to Fitbit health and wellness services


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The Veterans Health Administration Innovation Ecosystem (VHA IE) has launched a new initiative with Fitbit to help Veterans, caregivers and VA staff manage their health and wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic. This initiative, launched at https://healthsolutions.fitbit.com/veterans, is focused on eligible Veterans, caregivers and VA staff who currently use Fitbit devices, and will provide them with free access to Fitbit’s paid programs and services to help them manage stress, improve sleep and increase physical activity.

VA has contracted with Fitbit to initially provide 10,000 eligible Veterans, caregivers and VA staff a 1-year free membership to Fitbit Premium. This includes access to guided programs, hundreds of workouts, mindfulness content, a wellness report and a health metrics dashboard. Participants will also have access to Fitbit Health Coaching, one-on-one coaching and guidance from a certified health coach or licensed health professional. VA encourages Veterans, caregivers and VA staff using Fitbit wearables to express their interest in participating in this opportunity by January 25, 2021.

Eligibility will be based on various factors such as whether an individual is a Veteran, already a Fitbit user and their location. Additionally, some Veterans who currently receive VA healthcare may be eligible to receive a Fitbit Sense, Fitbit’s most advanced health smartwatch.

VA’s goal is to build a Veteran community using innovative wearable technology focused on improving health and wellness. VA is working with Veteran Service Organizations and community-based organizations to explore how wearables (and other digital health technologies) can help Veterans and VA health care teams meet their health care needs.

“We see the potential of digital health to increase access and transform how we care for Veterans based on technologies like smartphones and mobile apps already being widely used,” said Joshua Patterson, director of Care and Transformational Initiatives, VHA IE. “This initiative aims to advance how our support becomes more personal when we better understand the day-to-day challenges facing every Veteran, their caregivers and VA staff, and especially now.”

Interested Veterans, caregivers and VA staff who currently use Fitbit devices are encouraged to express their interest in participating at https://healthsolutions.fitbit.com/veterans.


Allison Amrhein is the director of operations for the VHA Innovators Network and communications lead for the VHA Innovation Ecosystem.

Author

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— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

  1. shandella fields    

    I got an email the other day letting me know that they are still going through the applications.

  2. Lisa G    

    After applying myself and receiving this email on 1/13 ” I Thank you for applying to be a part of Fitbit Care’s program in collaboration with the VA. We will email you in January to let you know whether you have been selected to participate or whether you have been placed on the waiting list.” I never heard either way!.

    Now seeing all of your comments nobody seems to have heard back. I reached out to Fit Bit directly today, after sitting on hold for almost 20 mins. I was told they do not support this program and it was run through the VA. The agent had no clue about the program seems her supervisors didn’t either! I mentioned this website and comments maybe they will check it out! Good luck

    1. Nonny    

      Thanks for the update Lisa, I got the same email after signing up. VA really needs to follow through with Fitbit.

  3. Nonny    

    I’d also like to know an update on this this Fitbit program. I’m currently using Fitbit and have bought multiple Fitbit devices in the past. I applied for the program mid of January and received an email stating I’ll be notified in January.

  4. Chad Clayton    

    How do Veterans qualify for the Fitbit Sense smartwatch? Who do we contact?

  5. jamesha    

    when will the winners be announced or notified ?

  6. Jerry Lee Gunn    

    I have it very useful in getting my stats recorded daily and to ensure I continue to work off the pounds

  7. Ralph B Tharpe    

    I 100% disabled Veteran I in the move program this would be nice help me get fit

  8. Sharon Annette Dennis    

    I am interested in the free Fit Bit. I am an employee but not a veteran. thank you.

  9. Michelle Howard    

    I would be interested in this as well

    1. Deidre    

      I am interested in this program. It is a wonderful way to give the gift of improved health resulting in better health outcomes for VA staff, veterans and caregivers!! Let’s become healthier now after being dormant during the pandemic.

  10. Otis C. Lawrence    

    How do I get in th program?

    i do I get enrolled in the program

  11. Ray Willinggam    

    The link provided has already been retired. Sounds like this program went nowhere fast!

  12. Cecilia Sterling    

    well, it’s not January 25th yet, and they have closed the link.

  13. Kimberly Phillips    

    Please feel free to ask your local VA Clinic if they have a Home Based Cardiac Rehabilitation program available also, if you have heart disease. During COVID this program has helped patients do the program without being seen in person and keeps them accountable for their own health.

  14. Jason Swain    

    What a great idea! Do we have any sense of whether Google will be introducing a medical alert function to fitbit? That sounds like the next logical step. I’ve been using Alert1 for years and they’re great, but it would be nice to consolidate my technology a little bit.

  15. Drew Shedwick    

    Sorry, I already own a Garmin and we don’t qualify.

  16. Geri Marshall    

    I am a Caraegiver for my mom, 104 & a lifetime VFW member. My Dad died disabled from WWII. We are interested in Fitbitm if we qualify.

  17. Beaware    

    Now that google owns Fitbit, I wouldn’t touch their stuff.

    1. Drew Shedwick    

      I HEAR THAT!
      Google is anti-American.

  18. Mystery Bradford    

    I am trying to lose more weight for a breast reduction and better health. So my kids have an Army mom to be proud of. Thank you

  19. Larry Snyder jr    

    Navy SeaBee service related heart issues and sleep apnea,, have been looking at fit bit sense and other like devices.. how do I get in rolled in this to get fit bit sense.. And the other programs

  20. Melodi D Nelson    

    I’m interested in participating in the fitbit program,I am not a current fitbit participant. I’m in the MOVE program, the clinic I go to is in Springfield, MO.

  21. Charree Okoro    

    I am a Veteran and l am interested in joining this FitBit Program. I currently don’t have a FitBit, but l am very much interested.

  22. Terry Brown    

    How do I apply for this program? I am at 100 percent P&T.I BELIEVE I would benefit greatly from this program.

  23. Brenda E Jamison    

    I am a Vietnam era veteran.i hope I qualify for this program.i need one to help my sleep apnea, monitor my heart rate and blood pressure.i am also glad I found the information in order to apply..good luck to all

  24. Bruce Flint    

    How do you apply for the free Fitbit Sense?

  25. Jennifer Johnson    

    Just curious to know why location a factor in the selection process?

  26. David struble    

    I am interested in getting in on your fitbit program to become healthier

  27. Francisco Javier Briseno    

    What is the process and procedure for my VA primary doctor to write a consult referral to a fitbit sense?

  28. Julia Adams    

    I am a caregiver for a Vietnam Era vet plus have health issues of my own. I don’t have a fitbit but know several people who do. I think it would be very helpful for me to have one.

  29. Melissa    

    I love my fitbit and the fitbit program! I’m excited and hope I get chosen for this! 🙂

    1. Frederick C. Harbour    

      I am a Vietnam Veteran and am 80 percent disabled from Agent Orange. My cardiologist told me this week to monitor my blood pressure and keep a record of reading, and to begin walking as much as I am able to improve health. Fitbit would be an excellent way to monitor established goals. Please consider me for this wonderful offer. Thank you.

  30. Ronnie Dale McDonald    

    I am a Vietnam Veteran ( 1966 – 1967) and am 90 percent disabled from Agent Orange. Fitbit would be an excellent way to stay fit and monitor established goals. I have not had the funds to acquire what you are offering. Please consider me for this wonderful offer. Thank you and have a great day.

  31. Mary McDonald    

    Exercise is such a positive way of dealing with stress. I have been a caregiver for my father a Korean War veteran. Currently I am a caregiver for my son, who has a chemical imbalance and now my husband, a Vietnam veteran. Being involved in a program like this would be such a blessing to help alleviate stress.

  32. GERALDINE WINSTEAD    

    I don’t have a fitbit, but I’m interested in my heart health and other conditions. Please send me a fitbit sense. I’m disabled and my check provides for my necessities only.

  33. Michelle Gaston    

    How do Veterans qualify for the Fitbit Sense smartwatch? Who do we contact?

  34. Calandra Stanfield    

    I dont have a fitbit, but I am totally interested in possibly qualifying for one and this program. Hopefully we will be updated on further requirements soon. I did go to the site listed for interested veterans.

  35. Tommie Ault    

    How do we apply for this program? This would be an amazing tool for my veteran husband and I as his caregiver.

  36. Thomas Vunderink    

    Thank you for this opportunity. I’ve been tracking my heart health for quite some time and would love to be a participant. I need to update my current watch, do you give recommendations on models.
    Thanks

  37. Jean Marrie Shanafelter    

    I am a 68 year old single female veteran that lives in rural Pennsylvania. I have no one to walk or exercise with so I get lazy. Being part of Fitbit program would give me reason to get up and move. It would help my dog also, she has gain weight too.

  38. Marc Darden    

    Can active duty military, who qualify as a veteran from previous enlistments, apply? Specifically those who are mandated to be enrolled into a fitness program?

  39. Lindale Muse    

    This is great I have just been notified about physical surgery for my knees and this would help the physician keep track of my progress using the fitbit6 I would be honored to be apart of this project for Veterans

  40. Sharon Helton    

    I would love to be part of this but don’t have a fitbit. Probably don’t meet eligibility for one either since I’m female.

  41. Deveatrice s Peterson    

    Looking forward to this experience.

  42. William Westveer    

    please sign us up ! will welcome this device to help with
    veteran & myself as a caregiver … Thanks

    William J. Westveer veteran & Linda Westveer caregiver
    Wyoming, MI

  43. David    

    Are they (Fitbit) going to ask for a charge card number…so that after the year free they can charge us?

  44. Allen Pasqua    

    How many posts are required?

  45. Allen Pasqua    

    I appreciate how Much the VA is trying to keep us healthy with all the new programs

  46. Allen Pasqua    

    I have it very useful in getting my stats recorded daily and to ensure I continue to work off the pounds.

  47. Allen Pasqua    

    Yes I would like a new fit bit as I have lost the old one when the band broke.

  48. Walter F. Huff    

    This partnership with Fitbit seems likely to help with my stress management. My personal interest is that I would like to see if it will help me with my pain management as well. Another area of interest is to see if my Virtual Reality headset stress relief programs will have identifiable positive results as well. I would like to document some comparisons with the Fitbit device when using VR and when I am not. I think a lot of us Vets with chronic pain and PTSD WILL be able to see improvement in coping with these issues by the use of VR but to document them in a home environment has been a challenge.

  49. Margaret R Hill-Grigson    

    As a disabled veteran with a tight budget, who is struggling with losing weight and getting fit I’d love to know how to apply for one of the Fitbit trackers and for the program. It would be great if you could tell us who we need to apply to in order to be a part of the program. Thanks!

  50. Jesse Trevino    

    Read about all these programs but have not been contacted at all. Not even from my VA doctor or my team, if I have one

  51. Stephen Salkof    

    I’m glad to hear that the VA is participating in many forms of alternative methods to keep active. These added benefits to Fitbit devices can assist our Veterans to get up and move. I also highly recommend participating and learning traditional Taiji (Tai Chi) as a chance to relieve stress, anxiety, PTSD symptoms, etc. Notice I said, “traditional” Taiji – yes, there is a difference for sure.

    1. Littlewolf    

      Any recommendations for how to locate traditional tai chi programs?Reqs for receiving a fitbit tracker, am female also, is it only for male veterans?

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