The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that its telehealth program served nearly 700,000 Veterans in fiscal year 2014.
The total of approximately 690,000 Veterans represents 12 percent of the total VA healthcare population. The 690,000 accounted for roughly 2 million telehealth visits. A large chunk of that population were Veterans in rural areas with limited access to VA healthcare.
“We have to adapt to meet Veterans wherever their needs are,” VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald, said in a statement. “A brick-and-mortar facility is not the only option for health care. We are exploring how we can more efficiently and effectively deliver health care services to better serve our Veterans and improve their lives. Telehealth is one of those areas we have identified for growth.”
The VA telehealth program has thrived, even as other areas of the department are under the public's watchful eye. VA Healthcare offers 44 clinical specialties through telehealth. The TeleAudiology program is one example of this, servicing more than 10,000 Veterans living with hearing loss. Last year, the VA handed out a five-year Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contract to AMC Health, worth up to $28.8 million, to improve its telehealth offerings.
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Healthcare organizations are once again urging U.S. Senate and House leaders to protect the Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) from more budget cuts for 2017.
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