Obama gives shout out to telemedicine, innovation at VA in speech for disabled veterans

Speaking at the National Convention for Disabled Veterans in Atlanta Monday, President Barack Obama addressed ways the Department of Veterans Affairs is trying to enhance veterans' access to care, largely through IT and telemedicine initiatives.

President Obama said the government's first step toward improving veterans' access to care was through the Affordable Care Act, which provided care to veterans not covered by the VA. Even as more veterans are gaining access to health insurance, President Obama said the government still has work to do to make access even easier.

"That's why we recruited some of the best talent from Silicon Valley and the private sector. And in one of their first innovations, veterans can now finally apply for VA healthcare anytime, anywhere, from any device, including your smartphone," he said, directing veterans to Vets.gov. "We're finally moving into the 21st century when it comes to helping our veterans."

Part of that move to the 21st century includes telemedicine and the precision medicine initiative. President Obama thanked the 500,000 veterans across the country who have so far donated health and genetic data for research, mentioning that the country is halfway to reaching its goal of 1 million veterans donating their data.

"That won't just help veterans. It will help all Americans," President Obama said. "And it's just one more example of how our veterans keep serving our country even after they come home."

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