WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will allow VA doctors, nurses and other health-care providers to administer care to veterans using telehealth, regardless of where the provider or veteran is located, including when care will occur across state lines or outside a VA facility.
It was previously unclear whether VA providers could provide care to veterans in other states through telehealth because of licensing restrictions or state-specific telehealth laws. The new rule exercises federal preemption to override those state restrictions, paving the way for the VA to expand care to veterans using telehealth.
“This new rule is critical to VA’s ‘Anywhere to Anywhere’ initiative,” said Robert Wilkie, acting secretary of the VA, in a statement. “Now that the rule has been finalized, VA providers and patients can start enjoying the full benefits of VA’s telehealth services.”
By enabling veterans to receive care at home, the rule will especially benefit veterans living in rural areas who would otherwise need to travel a considerable distance or across state lines to receive care.
In the announcement, the VA also unveiled VA Video Connect, a video conferencing app for veterans and VA providers. Through this new rule, VA providers will be able to use VA Video Connect and other forms of telehealth to furnish care to veterans anywhere in the country, including in the veteran’s home.