In early 2017, the Department of Veterans Affairs laid out the goal of easing rules on telemedicine to expand veteran access to telehealth diagnoses.
With that goal in mind, on October 2nd, the department proposed new regulations that would increase veterans’ access to healthcare by expanding access to telehealth. The rule would sidestep state licenses and regulations by allowing VA health care providers in any state to provide telehealth services to patients in any state.
In tandem with that rule, the House Veterans Affairs Committee passed a bill named the VETS Act (H.R. 2123), which would accomplish the same goal. On Tuesday, November 7th, the House will vote on passage of the VETS Act.
For those veterans living with or at risk for developing Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH), these regulations and this bill will allow them to access doctors with experience and expertise in the proper diagnosis of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH). NPH may affect over 700,000 seniors in the United States. That includes over 180,000 veterans. The Department of Defense does not currently track the development of hydrocephalus, so, while NPH affects elderly adults, it is not known if previous injury, even mild injury, increases the risk of NPH. We do know that the majority of NPH cases go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, making the support of telehealth services for veterans critical to opening up access that could lead to early diagnosis and treatment for those members of the armed service who have served our country.
Reach out to your House member with a quick phone call to let them know that you support the VETS Act and ask them to yes on this bill on Nov. 7th. Encourage your Senators to show their support by cosponsoring S. 925, the Senate’s version of this bill, which has not yet been approved by the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.