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Health IT Now Applauds VA Telehealth Initiative, FDARA Passage

WASHINGTON, DC (August 3, 2017): Health IT Now – a broad-based coalition of patient groups, provider organizations, employers, and payers supporting health information technology to improve patient outcomes – responded today to a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) initiative easing veterans’ access to care via telehealth. 

The “Anywhere to Anywhere VA Health Care” proposed regulation allows VA providers to offer telehealth services from anywhere in the country to veterans nationwide, waiving state provider licensing requirements that limit access to care. While exact details of the proposed rule are not yet available, it is believed the regulation accomplishes the objectives of the bicameral, bipartisan VETS Act,  legislation championed by Health IT Now and sponsored by Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) in the Senate, and by Representatives Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Julia Brownley (D-CA) in the House. 

Health IT Now Executive Director Joel White released the following statement:

“Health IT Now was proud to vigorously support the VETS Act, working closely with our telehealth champions in Congress to ensure a bipartisan, bicameral rollout of the bill and to build cosponsors in both chambers of Congress,” said HITN Executive Director Joel White. “We thank President Trump and Secretary Shulkin for expediting this process. This rule is a testament to the advocacy work of Health IT Now members and other supporters and, more importantly, a victory for our nation’s heroes – particularly those in rural areas – who deserve access to prompt medical care when they need it, in the setting that is most convenient for them.”

Health IT Now also praised Senate passage today of the FDA Reauthorization Act, legislation already unanimously passed by the House of Representatives to reauthorize FDA user fee agreements (UFAs). The legislation now heads to President Trump’s desk for his signature.

Health IT Now Executive Director Joel White responded to Senate passage of the bill, saying: 

“Health IT Now thanks members of the Senate for fulfilling their duty to reauthorize Food & Drug Administration (FDA) user fee agreements, which are vital to a modernized FDA. This measure will help ensure the agency has the funding needed to continue roll out of its Digital Health Innovation Action Plan and can set the stage for faster approval of health IT products, improved testing for preclinical innovation tools, and other reforms. We urge President Trump to sign this bill without delay,” said HITN Executive Director Joel White. “Health IT Now also appreciates the accompanying Senate passage of Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito’s (R-WV) Jessie’s Law, which will establish best practices for sharing information about patients’ past opioid addiction. While we believe this measure to be an important first step, we urge Congress to act soon by passing the Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act (OPPS) Act (H.R. 3545), which includes much needed reforms to 42 CFR Part 2 that will ensure this data can be shared most effectively. The toll of opioid abuse is too great to settle for less.”
 

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About Health IT Now: Health IT Now (HITN) is a broad-based coalition of patient groups, provider organizations, employers, and payers that supports incentives to deploy health information technology to improve care, patient outcomes, and to lower costs. Learn more at www.healthitnow.org.

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