Telehealth Across State Lines, EHR and HIPAA

Landmark VA Telehealth Rule Allows Interstate Practice: Telemental Health Across State Lines


May 11, 2018 | Reading Time: 3 Minutes

Please support’s ability to deliver helpful news, opinions, and analyses by turning off your ad blocker. How

Telehealth Across State Lines

Just last week, the U.S. Veterans Administration (VA) announced a much-anticipated licensing rule that allows telehealth across state lines for specified practitioners serving VA patients. The new telehealth interstate practice rule now permits telehealth to be integrated nationwide as a routine part of patient care at the VA. This precedent sets the bar for legislation to relax interjurisdictional barriers for telehealth across state lines.

Until last Thursday, VA patients could only receive care via telehealth by going to one of  700+ community clinics that are equipped with video-conferencing and/or other telehealth technologies. By visiting these technology- equipped offices, practitioners at a different site could treat clients/patients who visited these clinics. Licensing regulations prohibited these clients/patients from being treated outside of a state where their treating professional held a license. Given the wide range of issues that often need immediate care, specialty care, or more convenient care to accommodate the preferences of the client/patient as well as the availability of adequately trained clinicians, the issue of telehealth across state lines has been a serious barrier to the utilization of 21st Century healthcare technology in the direct delivery of care.

The new rule (PDF), titled, Authority of Health Care Providers to Practice Telehealth states:

SUMMARY: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is amending its medical regulations by standardizing the delivery of care by VA health care providers through telehealth. This rule ensures that VA health care providers can offer the same level of care to all beneficiaries, irrespective of the State or location in a State of the VA health care provider or the beneficiary. This final rule achieves important Federal interests by increasing the availability of mental health, specialty, and general clinical care for all beneficiaries.

Published in the Federal Register on Friday, this new telehealth rule finalizes last year’s landmark proposal to override state licensing restrictions so clinicians can treat veterans anywhere in the country. Outlined last August by former Secretary David Shulkin, M.D., alongside President Donald Trump, the rule is a critical piece of the VA’s Anywhere to Anywhere telehealth initiative.

Which  Clinicians Can Practice Telehealth Across State Lines

Allowing telehealth across state lines, this landmark rule only applies to VA-appointed providers. It excludes clinicians who provide care through VA Choice program or other health plans and insurances. More specifically, the rule does not apply to clinicians serving clients/patients with other payment arrangements, such as through telehealth employers, private pay, coaching, etc. As the most notable telehealth rule change passed in the history of telehealth, it is a bellwether for the massive changes that have been underway for more than a decade to allow clinicians to deliver the care that is needed by not only veterans, but a wide variety of underserved groups and their locations.

However, two other bills have passed the House and Senate that, if reconciled and signed by the president, would codify similar changes to serve increasingly expanding client/patient populations in an increasing variety of settings. The current VA rule then, New Telehealth Interstate Licensing Rule Offers Service to the Home Via A Smartphone Apps and More

While services to date have required that the veteran go to a technology-equipped professional office setting to receive telehealth-mediated treatment, this new law will also allow patients to be treated in their own homes. This change is particularly relevant to telemental and telebehavioral health, as the agency plans to use its 10 telemental health hubs to provide in-home services to patients around the country. This game-changing telehealth licensing rule will be closely watched for outcomes of various types to be collected to support yet more sweeping licensing changes across all healthcare arenas in the private and public sectors.

Already, some VA providers have been using the increasing functionality of the Anywhere to Anywhere program, using virtual visits to enhance phone appointments or schedule follow-up care through a new mobile app. The app allows patients to schedule and connect with clinicians using their smartphones. It is anticipated that utilization will significantly increase due to these wide-scale changes to accessibility of services.

Workforce Development for Telehealth: Professional Training

With the potential for such sweeping changes to impact workforce management, workforce development issues are also surfacing. It comes as no surprise then, that as part of this initiative, clinicians at the VA are being encouraged to consider telehealth training as part of the skillset needed for 21st Century healthcare service delivery.

Introduction to Telehealth Theory & Practice

Enjoy a fast-moving overview of telebehavioral and telemental health. Understand the key points related to telehealth clinical, legal, ethical, technology, reimbursement, social media and other pivotal issues.

Telehealth Across State Lines & International Borders: Navigating Legal & Ethical Mastery

Practicing telehealth across state lines or international borders? Operate legally & ethically 100% of the time.

BCTP®-II Telehealth Training & Certificate

The most popular of’s training and certificate packages, this program allows you to be confident in your abilities to handle yourself in a wide variety of challenging telehealth situations.

Disclaimer: offers information as educational material designed to inform you of issues, products, or services potentially of interest. We cannot and do not accept liability for your decisions regarding any information offered. Please conduct your due diligence before taking action. Also, the views and opinions expressed are not intended to malign any organization, company, or individual. Product names, logos, brands, and other trademarks or images are the property of their respective trademark holders. There is no affiliation, sponsorship, or partnership suggested by using these brands unless contained in an ad. Some of’s blog content is generated with the assistance of ChatGPT. We do not and cannot offer legal, ethical, billing technical, medical, or therapeutic advice. Use of this site constitutes your agreement to Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.

Was this article helpful?

Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Susan Litton
Susan Litton
5 years ago

Wonderful news! Thanks for posting!

Eric Buck
Eric Buck
5 years ago

How can I find out about VA jobs for MFT
Folks now that I’m a certified practitioner.
Are there job sources (including VA and non VA ) data base for Telehealth that
Shows : range of pay , lic requirements, Patient profiles , private pay options , which
Insurance companies are best for me to get credentialed enrollment?

Marlene Maheu, Ph. D.
Marlene Maheu, Ph. D.
5 years ago
Reply to  Eric Buck

The VA has job openings listed on their various local websites. If you run a search engine check on “VA job openings”, it will most likely pull up the VA that is geographically closest to you. The other term to search is “VA provider”. You may find resources like: I hope this helps.

Wayne Roffer, PsyD
Wayne Roffer, PsyD
5 years ago

USAJOBS.GOV is the official website for federal job postings and the mechanism for applying for such jobs.
If interested in a federal position, I would suggest creating a account and setting up your profile, including creating your CV within the system and/or uploading one if you have one already available. This will speed up the application process should you encounter a position you are interested in, as many positions have short application turn-around times.
Then, use the search feature to see what is available. Search by keyword, location, etc etc. If you don’t see what you are looking for, and have an account set up, you can let the system know to email you when a job is posted based on certain keywords.
The VA is a great place to work. Best wishes!

Karen Wall
Karen Wall
5 years ago

This is awesome!!!! IT’s about time, too. Our Veterans will be able to receive the care we need without the stresses of logistics.

3 years ago

This is an interesting update I searched for. It does not mention the VA position for telehealth and doctoral trainees. Is there a VA rule for trainees across state lines?

Marlene Maheu, Ph. D.
Marlene Maheu, Ph. D.
3 years ago
Reply to  Kat

Kat, Yours is a very specialized question that is outside our scope here at TBHI. We at TBHI mostly focus on post-licensure training for professionals. While we often train students, they typically are brought to us by universities or colleges who want their faculty and students to have a telehealth certification. They are the ones to be aware of laws related to pre-licensure training issues within their respective states and professions. Perhaps you can contact your local VA?

Register for Free

Receive Any of Our 57 FREE Newsletters!


Most Popular Blog Topics

You May Also Like…