Photo by MarineCorps NewYork/FlickrCC

By Shannon Muchmore/Healthcare Dive

Dive Brief:

  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has released a proposed rule that would allow its healthcare providers to treat patients anywhere through telehealth, regardless of state laws.
  • The proposed rule would bring about change more quickly than legislation introduced earlier this year that would also waive state telemedicine laws for VA physicians. The Veterans E-Health and Telemedicine Support (VETS) Act has been referred to the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
  • Health IT Now Executive Director Joel White said he supports both the proposed rule and the VETS Act. “This proposed rule will be instrumental in breaking down geographic barriers that, for too long, have prevented our nation’s heroes from accessing the care they need where they need it,” he said in a statement.

The VA says its proposed rule is needed for the agency to continue growing its telehealth services, which are particularly crucial for veterans who need mental health care.

The VA has been quite active on the telehealth front recently, as it works to improve care for veterans in rural areas and remove hurdles to accessing care. It comes in the wake of the agency’s scandals from the past few years, which included care quality lapses, excessive appointment wait times and falsified records…

Read the full story at www.healthcaredive.com

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