New bill to expand telemedicine to veterans

Veterans Affairs

Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY) and Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) introduced a bipartisan bill aimed at increasing veterans’ access to healthcare across states. Called the Veterans E-Health & Telemedicine Support Act of 2015, it would allow Veterans Affairs (VA) health professionals, including contractors, to practice telemedicine across state borders if they are qualified, and practice within the scope of their authorized federal duties, marking a big improvement on the status quo. At the moment, overly cumbersome location requirements can make it difficult for veterans to get the help they need.

“We must keep our promise to America’s heroes and ensure them the treatment, protection, and opportunities that they so rightfully deserve,” said Rep. Rangel. “I am proud to introduce this legislation that is really about fulfilling our duty to our veterans who so valiantly served our nation. Allowing veterans easy access to the care they need is the least we can do.”

Currently, the VA can only waive the state license requirement for treatment if both the physician and patient are located in a federally-owned facility. The Veterans E-Health & Telemedicine Support Act of 2015 removes these barriers, with veterans no longer being required to travel to a VA facility, but rather can receive telemedicine treatment from anywhere, including their home or a community center.

Also joining as original co-sponsors are: Reps. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Walter B. Jones (R-NC), Lois Capps (D-CA), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Bobby L. Rush (D-IL), Jose E. Serrano (D-NY), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Jared Polis (D-CO), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU At-Large).