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Rep. Peters Introduces Bill Expanding Telehealth Services to Veterans, Active-Duty Servicemembers, and Dependents

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressmen Scott Peters (CA-52) introduced bipartisan legislation that would expand coverage of telehealth services to active-duty servicemembers, their dependents, retirees, and veterans. Because of provider shortages at local practices many servicemembers and veterans lack access to a primary care physician, and in rural communities patients often must travel extended distances to see a healthcare provider. The bill, H.R. 3507, the 21st Century Care for Military & Veterans Act, would establish and expand reimbursement policies covering the use of telehealth services, including essential mental health monitoring, under TRICARE and the VA.

“As we look for ways to provide the best-quality care for our servicemembers and veterans, telehealth technologies are increasingly important to the full range of options we should be offering,” Congressman Peters said. “We’ve already seen that these technologies create a more responsive and more efficient health care system that provide for better care and lower costs. That’s the type of commonsense approach that can make a real difference in military and veterans communities in San Diego and across the country.”

"The proposed bill would most certainly extend the range and ease of service to veterans through the tele-health technology that has shown excellent results already.  This is a good move for veterans and their families," said Gary Rossio, former CEO of the VA Med Center, San Diego.   

The legislation introduced would leverage innovative technologies already in use today – including audio and video conferencing, smart devices, and remote monitoring – to bring the doctor to the patient. Telehealth technologies, in their various forms, bring a host of benefits including improved patient outcomes, decreased disparities and variations in care, and vastly expanded options for outpatient health treatments. The VA has already seen both clinical and cost-saving benefits through telehealth technologies, including a 40% reduction in bed days and an 87% reduction in annual per-patient cost between when compared to existing home-based care programs.

H.R. 3507 has been endorsed by the American Telemedicine Association.

News about HR 3507

San Diego Patch - Peters Bill Would Cover Telehealth Services for Military, Veterans

iHealthBeat - Bill Introduced to Expand Military, VA Telehealth Services

ATA Supports 21st Century Care for Military and Veterans Act

mHealth News - Congressmen Propose Expanding Telehealth for Veterans

Fierce Health IT - Legislation expands telehealth coverage for military, retired veterans

EHR Intelligence - Telehealth gets Congressional attention with letter, new bill

MobiHealth News - Bill seeks to integrate digital health into Medicare, Medicaid, VA, military care