Starting June 11, VA physicians can practice telemedicine across state lines

The Department of Veterans Affairs amended its regulations to allow VA healthcare providers to deliver care via telehealth across state lines, effective June 11.

The VA's rule change will relieve clinicians of the complex licensing and insurance rules governing telehealth. Though the change only applies to VA employees — not to contractors or private-sector practitioners within the VA Choice Program — it is expected increase access to care by making more clinicians available for appointments.

"Just as it is critical to ensure there are qualified healthcare providers on-site at all VA medical facilities, VA must ensure that all beneficiaries, specifically including beneficiaries in remote, rural or medically underserved areas, have the greatest possible access to mental healthcare, specialty care and general clinical care," the final rule states. "Thus, VA developed a telehealth program as a modern, beneficiary- and family-centered healthcare delivery model ... to support clinical healthcare, patient and professional health-related education, public health, and health administration, irrespective of the state … where the healthcare provider or the beneficiary is physically located."

Veterans Health Administration Executive in Charge Carolyn Clancy, MD, expects the new rule to  improve the VA's recruiting abilities because it is "so far ahead of the rest of the healthcare system" regarding telehealth technology, infrastructure and experience.

"By 2020 it will be a routine experience [for] all of our clinicians -— [that] telehealth is part of the job. This is not a unique, boutique activity," she said at a May 9 Senate hearing, according to FCW.

More articles on telehealth:
In-person appointments cost $100 more than virtual ones — Here's how telehealth can save patients time and money
Emory Healthcare teams up with Australian hospital on remote ICU
Avizia, Regroup partner to expand access to virtual mental healthcare

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