Recent Updates in Federal Telehealth Regulations

The federal government has continued to show increased support for improving remote care access. Below you can find two key changes in legislation that will positively impact telehealth in 2018.

What’s New in Telemedicine

The Visuwell team is most excited about is the increased support from the federal government to expand access through telemedicine. The house of representatives recently passed a bill, The Veterans E-health and Telemedicine Support Act, that will exempt US Department of Veteran Affairs doctors from remote state telehealth restrictions.

Additionally, the senate passed the Chronic Care Act of 2017 which aims to improve care for those that suffer from chronic conditions. What do these recent changes mean for you, the provider?

Two Big Changes That Will Affect Providers in 2018

The Veterans E-Health and Telemedicine Support Act proposed by the House of Representatives will effectively increase access to veterans. The new bill will allow VA doctors to provide remote care across state lines without restrictions or the need to obtain additionally state licenses.

The Chronic Care Act, which stands for Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic Care, specifically outlines the use of telehealth and other technologies in for Medicare covered patients with chronic conditions. Previously, federal restrictions backed by Medicare limited the availability of telehealth services to patients in rural areas.  For now we have to wait for the house of representative to pass this bill before it can become law, but improvements in care will soon follow for chronic care patients.

Who Supports Telehealth Expansion?

The better question would be who doesn’t? Support for the two new acts are vast across local, state, and federal governments. Endorsements were heard from a number of key organizations such as the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Psychological Association (APA), the American Psychiatric Association, and the American College of Radiology. Additional support was heard from those directly affected, VA patients and VA providers, who expressed a need for expanding telehealth coverage. The patients love the idea of convenient and efficient care. For providers, the new acts will give them the opportunity to expand their net of care without the challenges related to adding physical offices. Providers are loving the idea of helping more veterans while simultaneously showing the value of having interconnected support from state and federal government.