For Ailing Vets In Rural Areas, Telemedicine Can Be The Cure

Quil Lawrence | KQED | May 29, 2013

Howard Lincoln of White Mountain, Alaska, doesn't always hear it when people knock on his door. He's 82 and he still has a little shrapnel in his jaw from a mortar shell that nearly killed him in the Korean War 60 years ago.

"We heard it whistling, but I was the third one in line running toward the bunker," he recalls.

Wounds to his face, arm and hip laid him up in a Tokyo hospital for quite a while. But he recovered, came home to Alaska in 1955 and says he never applied for Veterans Administration (now the Department of Veterans Affairs) benefits.

The nearest VA hospital was hundreds of miles — and at least two plane rides — away. White Mountain, along the Fish River, is still pretty remote. It's a day's journey by snowmobile or dog sled to Nome or a short flight if the weather allows. But the distance to health care just got a lot shorter — virtually.