The United States’ Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) is able to enact telehealth legislation as the country’s legislative frontrunner. The VA researches, passes and tests telehealth legislative reform. Once innovative models are widely tested within the government system, other US legislative groups then follow the precedent.
According to an announcement in Healthcare-Informatics this week, a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate aims to expand the Department’s telehealth services across state lines to improve healthcare access for veterans. In this bellwether, bi-partisan bill, Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) worked with eight co-sponsors to introduce the Veterans E-Health and Telemedicine Support Act of 2015 (VETS Act).
A summary of the bill the the US Congress.gov website reads:
Allows a health care professional who is authorized to provide health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs and who is a licensed, nationally registered, or certified professional to practice at any location in any state, the District of Columbia, or a U.S. commonwealth, territory, or possession, regardless of where the professional or patient is located, if the professional is using telemedicine to provide treatment. Allows such treatment regardless of whether such professional or patient is located in a facility owned by the federal government.