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Lawmaker Introduces Bill to Spur Telemedicine Use by VA

July 16, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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Congressman Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) recently introduced a bill that would increase veterans access to the care provided by telemedicine devices. The bill, the Veterans E-Health & Telemedicine Support Act of 2012,is a bipartisan effort with Reps. Glenn Thompson (R-PA), Donna Christensen (D-VI), Walter Jones (R-NC), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Sanford Bishop, Jr. (D-GA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Laura Richardson (D-CA), Shelley Berkley (D-NV), Judy Chu (D-CA), Todd Platts (R-PA), and Mike Kelly (R-PA), joining Rangel.

According to Rangel, it would allow the Veterans Affairs (VA) health professionals, including contractors, to practice telemedicine across state borders if they are qualified and practice within the scope of their authorized federal duties. Currently, location requirements have curbed telemedicine efforts, with strong across-the-state-border practicing restrictions. Under current law, the VA can only waive the state license requirement for treatment if both the physician and patient are located in a federally-owned facility.

"Veterans have made huge sacrifices for their country. Oftentimes, the price they pay for their courageous service is a serious health condition. They deserve and need the best quality, convenient care we can provide. That is why I am introducing this Act. It will cut the red tape and let veterans get the care they need. Both parties can and should support that,” Rangel said in a statement.

According to this bill, veterans will no longer be required to travel to a VA facility, but rather can receive telemedicine treatment anywhere, including their home or a community center.

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