New Bill To Facilitate VA Telemedicine Visits

Andis Robeznieks

A new bill is being considered by the Senate which would ease licensure requirements in order to facilitate mental health visits using telemedicine for Veterans’ Affairs patients. The bill would waive state licensure requirements if both the patient and physician are located in a federal facility during the telemedicine visit. Additionally, home mental health telemedicine visits would also be allowed regardless of the state where the VA physician is located or licensed.

Approximately 677,000 veterans received telemedicine visits last year including 122,000 who received home mental health visits. “Telehealth care is an innovative and important means to meet the wide-ranging needs of veterans in Iowa and nationwide, including the invisible struggles of mental healthcare,” said Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), the bill’s sponsor.

The bill also calls for reporting of quality metrics such as patient and provider satisfaction, frequency of use, wait times, and effect on access to care. The bill has been endorsed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Paralyzed Veterans of America, the American Legion, Concerned Veterans for America and the American Telemedicine Association

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