On 11 May, the VA announced it is expanding telehealth, or virtual technology, by allowing healthcare provider, whether or not located within a VA facility, to treat its patients across state lines and outside a VA facility.
The result is the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has taken another step forward in telehealth services, of which private healthcare should take note. This is especially important to do in an era of nationwide shortages in the medical professions. It also makes the VA’s home-based healthcare program better, let alone pushing its concept of “aging in place” further along.
The ruling is titled, “Authority of Health Care Providers to Practice Telehealth”, part of the “Anywhere to Anywhere” initiative. Its importance lies in that “[p]reviously, it was unclear whether VA providers could furnish care to Veterans in other states through telehealth because of licensing restrictions or state-specific telehealth laws. This new rule exercises federal preemption to override those state restrictions, paving the way for VA to expand care to Veterans using telehealth. VA worked closely with the White House Office of American Innovation and the Department of Justice for implementation of the new rule,” according to the VA Press Release.
Not only does the ruling reduce unneeded travel, it also allows the VA to provide critical care more quickly, including in the areas of mental health therapy — which recently was expanded to include more veterans — and suicide prevention, a top priority for the department.
In the press release, the VA also announced a video conferencing app for the use of both healthcare providers and their patients called, “VA Video Connect” (currently available for iOS operating systems only).
As of 11 May 2018