New legislation would provide telemedicine alternative for veterans

Two U.S. senators, who co-sponsored the Veterans E-Health & Telemedicine Support (VETS) Act of 2015, said bipartisan support for the bill is growing as it should when you consider the sacrifices veterans have made for the U.S. 

The VETS Act would allow qualified U.S. Veterans Administration (VA) health professionals to operate across state lines and conduct telehealth services, including mental health care treatment, for veterans.

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) said the proposed legislation would particularly help many vets in Iowa.

“The bipartisan Veterans E-Health & Telemedicine Support Act moves us one step closer to achieving more affordable, patient-centered health care that our veterans deserve by embracing telehealth services to offer physician care and health treatment beyond the walls of a VA facility,” Ernst said. “Telehealth care is an innovative and important means to meet the wide-ranging needs of veterans in Iowa and nationwide, including the invisible struggles of mental health care.”

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) said the legislation would make it easier for vets to see local doctors.

“Our nation has a moral obligation to provide the best care for all veterans,” Hirono said. “This legislation would eliminate the added burden of traveling long distances, or even to different states, in order to see a doctor. The VETS Act will build on a VA telemedicine program that is proven to work and removes barriers to accessing care particularly for veterans in rural areas like Hawaii’s neighbor islands.”