Health IT Now Applauds Senate Passage of National Defense Authorization Act with Telehealth Section

Health IT Now Executive Director Robert Horne today issued the following statement on the Senate’s passage of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, particularly the inclusion of important telehealth policies.

“HITN applauds the Senate for acting in a bipartisan manner to pass this important piece of legislation. HITN continues to be encouraged by the inclusion of health IT in the ongoing Washington, D.C., debates around health policy.

“The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 marks a significant step forward in the potential for telehealth services by requiring its application through all stages of the military healthcare system. This provision strikes an important balance in giving the Secretary flexibility in implementing the changes and ensuring that Congress is sufficiently updated on the impact. We look forward to working with the administration and both chambers of Congress to ensure that members of our military and their families have access to the best quality health care.”

Section 718 of the National Defense Authorization Act significantly expands the use of telehealth treatment by requiring its usage in military health services, including primary care, health assessments and diagnoses, real-time monitoring, and communications between healthcare providers and patients. The services are to be covered by TRICARE, the healthcare program of the Defense Department’s Military Health System.