Epstein Becker Green’s 2018 Telemental Health Laws survey, was cited in Dark Daily: Serving Clinical Labs & Pathology Groups, in “VA Engages Private Sector Companies in Major Telehealth Initiative to Bring Critical Healthcare Services to Thousands of Veterans Living in Remote Areas,” by Andrea Downing Peck.

Following is an excerpt:

In what may prove to be a useful innovation, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is preparing a major expansion of its telehealth (aka, telemedicine) offerings. What adds interest to this effort is that veterans will be able to access telehealth services in such settings as selected posts run by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and American Legion, as well as in some Walmart stores.

Many in healthcare view telehealth as key to bringing healthcare services to outlying, rural, and remote areas that lack critical medical services. And, a new telehealth initiative proposed by the VA could further advance that effort by helping bring the advanced technology into the mainstream healthcare arena.

Dubbed the “Advancing Telehealth through Local Access Stations” (ATLAS) initiative, the goal is to provide veterans living in rural or remote areas with the best possible care. And, of course, many types of healthcare services require clinical laboratory testing. Thus, labs with access to VA patients in remote areas of the country should be looking for opportunities to collaborate with the VA.

Medical laboratory leaders will find it useful to follow the progress of this initiative, because when the VA completes a major project such as this proposed telehealth program, the results often serve as a proof-of-concept that can lead to wider acceptance among Medicare and private insurers of similar projects in the civilian community. …

Regulation a Barrier to Telehealth Adoption

Yet, the road to wide spread use of Medicare/Medicaid telehealth may not be smooth. Law firm Green in their 2018 Telemental Health Laws Survey found reimbursement and regulatory barriers continue to block widespread adoption of telehealth services.

“Despite Medicaid’s fewer restrictions on telehealth coverage as compared to its Medicare counterpart, there is limited federal guidance or information regarding the implementation of telehealth services in state Medicaid programs or coverage parameters for states choosing to offer such services,” the attorneys stated in a press release.

Related reading:

Healthcare Purchasing News, "VA Embarks on Major Telehealth Initiative to Deliver Critical Healthcare Services to Veterans in Rural Regions."

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