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Tempe telemedicine program getting veterans health care at home

Tempe Fire Department
Posted at 2:52 PM, Oct 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-11 21:24:01-04

TEMPE, AZ — High-risk veterans in Tempe are getting extraordinary care through a program managed by the Tempe Fire Department.

A program former fire captain Kyle Brayer was instrumental in getting off the ground.

Before his tragic murder last year, the former Marine was aiming at helping the men and women who served our country get the health care they deserved.

Right now, in Tempe, veterans with high-risk health conditions are getting house calls with a special touch of care.

"Medicine changes in the last thirty days," asked Tempe Fire-EMS Coordinator Dana Cardenas.

"No," Jonathan Schuller responded.

On this day, Vietnam veteran Jonathan Schuller is receiving a check-up, one that doesn't require him to leave the comfort of his home and for good reason.

"The biggest challenge is transportation is a bad one because you're taking drugs you really don't want to drive on," said Schuller.

Instead, Tempe fire staff comes to him, checking his blood pressure, medications, an entire wellness check free of charge.

An iPad then teleconferences in a nurse practitioner with the VA to finish the exam. But it doesn't stop at the visits.

"They call you a lot, asking how you are doing, how you are feeling," said Schuller.

The program was inspired by the late Tempe Fire Captain Kyle Brayer, who was instrumental in getting the program off the ground.

"Kyle always spoke a lot about his brothers and how underserved the population of veterans are, the services that were lacking," said Cardenas.

Brayer contacted the VA to work out the logistics. His impact felt by every veteran now a part of this life-changing program.

"He was a good looking, outgoing guy, he could have spent his time chasing woman you know, but he didn't, he didn't forget his brothers," said Schuller.

Before his death, Brayer expressed the pride he felt every day over the countless veterans getting help.

"We've been able, for the first time in my career here in Tempe to actually make a significant difference on a patients health and their long term issues, build that rapport and interpersonal relationship in their home and watch them progress to become healthier," said Brayer in a video before his death. "Where they're not gonna call 911 and to see that happen with our veteran population is exciting for me."

They're healthier and say they're thankful to the man who started it all.

"Thank you first Captain Brayer, and you left it in good hands with Dana Cardenas, she picked up the ball and ran double with it, so you can't complain. Where-ever you are in heaven, you did good," said Schuller.

Captain Brayer was murdered in Scottsdale last year. Following his death, he was posthumously inducted into the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame for his work in the creation of the program.