Newly offered bipartisan bills (HR-2123 and S-925) seek to expand the VA’s use of telemedicine, a strategy already in some use that sponsors say has the potential to reduce patient waiting times and enable the VA to make more use of its available medical personnel.
The VA continues to experience difficulties in filling medical care positions, and at a recent House hearing more use of telemedicine was singled out as one potential response.
Under current law, VA health professionals can only provide telehealth treatment across state lines if both they and the veteran are in a federal facility. The proposal would allow telemedicine without that restriction, so long as the provider is qualified and is acting within the scope of official duties.
The result would be that veterans no longer would have to travel to a VA facility, but rather could receive telemedicine treatment from anywhere, including their home or a community center, sponsors say.