Carter seeks telemedicine training improvements at VA

U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) on June 12 sponsored a bipartisan bill to authorize health professional trainees working with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide treatment via telemedicine.

“Increasing the use of telehealth at VA health centers is critical to ensure veterans are able to receive the care they need no matter where they live,” Rep. Carter said on Wednesday.

The congressman unveiled the VA MISSION Telemedicine Clarification Act, H.R. 3228, to ensure trainees who are satisfying professional training program requirements use the telemedicine system and are supervised by a credentialed VA staff member, according to a summary of the bill provided by his office.

H.R. 3228 has seven cosponsors, including U.S. Reps. Andy Barr (R-KY) and Ann Kuster (D-NH).

Currently, the 2018 VA MISSION Act law prohibits trainees from using the telemedicine system, resulting in interns, residents, fellows, or graduate students – who are trying to become doctors and/or work full-time with the VA – being unable to gain hands-on experience with the system, according to the summary.

“During a meeting with the VA Hospital in Charleston, I learned about this problem with the VA MISSION Act,” Rep. Carter explained. “Unfortunately, the legislation missed a large population of health care providers.”

Rep. Carter said he introduced the bill to improve telehealth training at VA health centers and to increase access to care by bolstering the number of telehealth providers.

“Our veterans served our nation and deserve access to the best possible care when they return home,” he said.

H.R. 3228 has been referred to the U.S. House Veterans’ Affairs Committee for consideration.