A Veterans Affairs Department plan to drop co-pays for in-home video telehealth care provided to its beneficiaries beginning in May has drawn strong support from the telehealth industry and veterans groups.
The drop in co-pays aims to remove a cost barrier that may discourage veterans from using in-home video telehealth, according to a final rule announcing the change. The change will take effect May 7 unless the VA concludes that any adverse comments it received by April 5 were relevant. A department spokesman did not return press queries about any such comments by deadline.
The change is part of the department's ongoing push to encourage the use of telehealth to improve access to care for a patient population that is spread across huge geographic distances and whose members often are far from physical treatment facilities.
"The VA's extensive use of video visits and remote monitoring is great for improving patient care and convenience as well as VA productivity," Gary Capistrant, senior director of public policy for the American Telemedicine Association, said in e-mailed comments. "We applaud the VA's proposal to pass the benefits of telehealth directly to patients in the form of eliminating their out-of-pocket costs."