WASHINGTON, DC (September 26, 2017): Health IT Now – a broad-based coalition of patient groups, provider organizations, employers, and payers supporting health information technology to improve patient outcomes – organized two-dozen organizations in writing a letter of support for the VETS Act of 2017.
This bicameral, bipartisan legislation – sponsored by Representatives Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Julia Brownley (D-CA) in the House and Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) in the Senate – would remove artificial barriers to telehealth services for veterans by allowing VA telehealth providers to more easily treat patients across state lines.
Health IT Now endorsed the legislation upon introduction earlier this year and spoke in support of the bill at a House House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health roundtable this month.
The coalition letter, signed by Health IT Now members and non-members alike, explains the urgent need for this legislation, noting: “Under current law, the VA can only waive state provider licensing requirements if both the physician and patient are located in a federally owned facility. Because a significant number of veterans live in rural areas, this requirement places a burden on veterans, who often must travel to federal facilities to receive care from a VA provider located in another state.”
The Trump administration previously announced a new VA policy that is thought to effectuate the goals of the VETS Act, but a proposed rule has not yet been published. Health IT Now and co-signers of the letter support the administration’s announcement, but believe permanent legislation is needed to provide greater clarity to patients and providers alike.
The VETS Act letter of support is signed by Health IT Now, and:
- American Art Therapy Association
- American Association of Diabetes Educators
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
- American Psychological Association
- Apervita, Inc.
- Association for Ambulatory Behavioral Healthcare
- Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness
- Brain Injury Association of America
- Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice
- College of Healthcare Information Management Executives
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
- Environmental Monitoring Technologies
- Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice
- LifeWire Corp.
- Lung Cancer Alliance
- NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
- National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
- National Multiple Sclerosis Society
- New Directions Technology Consulting, LLC
- Teladoc, Inc.
- The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
- United Spinal Association – VetsFirst Program; and
- University of Pittsburgh Center for Military Medicine Research
To read the full letter, click HERE.
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.