Unanimous House passage marks milestone in advocacy group’s years-long push to remove barriers to VA telehealth services
WASHINGTON, DC (November 7, 2017): Health IT Now – a broad-based coalition of patient groups, provider organizations, employers, and payers supporting health information technology to improve patient outcomes – responded today to the unanimous House passage of H.R. 2123, the Veterans E-Health and Telemedicine Support (VETS) Act of 2017.
The bill would remove artificial barriers to telehealth services for veterans by allowing Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) telehealth providers to more easily treat patients across state lines. HITN has led a years-long, multifaceted advocacy effort supporting this policy solution that included testifying at a House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health roundtable, assembling two-dozen organizations on a formal letter of support, supporting administrative action via proposed rule, and aggressive media outreach.
HITN Executive Director Joel White released the following statement on House passage of the bill:
“Taking steps to help veterans access the care they need on their terms is common sense and, judging by today’s unanimous vote, we are pleased to see that Congress agrees,” said HITN Executive Director Joel White. “Telehealth has revolutionized the way we deliver health care in this country yet, for too long, bureaucratic red tape has prevented the most deserved among us from experiencing the full benefits of this technology. This broken status quo has been particularly burdensome to veterans in our rural communities who, without access to telehealth services, must drive long distances to receive needed care. By putting these regulations on the side of veterans and providers, we can bring the VA into the 21st Century and spur better outcomes for the 20 million men and women in its care today.”
White concluded, “Health IT Now thanks Representatives Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) and Julia Brownley (D-CA) for their tireless, bipartisan work on this legislation and urges swift action in the Senate. Today’s unanimous vote of confidence in the House should give Senators all the reason they need to get this bill to the president’s desk without delay.”
11/1/17- Health IT Now Submits Comments on VA Proposed Rule, Urges Committee Passage of the VETS Act
9/29/17- Health IT Now Praises Proposed Rule Supporting Goals of the VETS Act
9/26/17 – Health IT Now Assembles Broad Group in Support of Bipartisan VETS Act
9/12/17- Health IT Now’s Joel White Speaks at Congressional Telehealth Roundtable
8/3/17- Health IT Now Applauds VA Telehealth Initiative
4/26/17- HITN Expresses Strong Support of VETS Act
11/18/15- Health IT Now Endorses Veterans E-Health and Telemedicine Support Act of 2015
About Health IT Now: Health IT Now (HITN) is a broad-based coalition of patient groups, provider organizations, employers, and payers that support incentives to deploy health information technology to improve care, patient outcomes, and to lower costs. Learn more at www.healthitnow.org.