Blog // Connect Minnesota
Veterans may soon see telehealth co-pays eliminated and access enhanced
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is proposing to amend its regulations to exempt in-home video telehealth care from having any required copayment.
This would remove a barrier to choosing in-home video telehealth as a viable medical care option. The VA hopes to make the home a preferred place of care for veterans, whenever medically appropriate and possible.
Telehealth is the delivery of health-related services and information via telecommunications technologies. Telehealth could be as simple as two health professionals discussing a case over the telephone or as sophisticated as doing robotic surgery between facilities at different ends of the globe.
The VA proposed the rule change on March 6 with a 30-day comment period that has expired. Subsequently, a direct final rule was initiated that essentially initiates the rule change on May 7, barring the receipt of significant adverse comments. The proposed rule is available here and the direct final rule is here.
In related pending legislation, Congresswoman Kathy Hochul (D-NY) introduced a bill, in February, to help veterans get easier access to medical care. It's called the Veterans Telehealth and Telemedicine Improvement Act, and it has bipartisan support.
"With this bill, we will increase the number of patients enrolled in telehealth programs, saving them time and money, and also it gives the Veterans Administration the authority to waive the co-pays for these veterans’ telehealth and telemedical services," said Hochul.