VA Plans To Eliminate Copays for In-Home Telehealth Services

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On May 7, the Department of Veterans Affairs plans to eliminate copayments for veterans receiving in-home care via telehealth technology, Health Data Management reports.

Background

On March 6, VA published a proposed rule to waive copays for in-home telehealth services.

Also on March 6, VA published a direct final rule that is nearly identical to the proposed rule. The direct final rule calls for waiving the copays starting May 7 unless VA receives significant adverse comments on the proposal during a comment period that expired on April 5. Direct final rules are issued to speed rulemaking if a rule is expected to be noncontroversial.

If VA has received substantial negative comments on the proposed rule, it will publish a notice in the Federal Register indicating that it received the comments and will withdraw the direct final rule (Goedert, Health Data Management, 4/9).

VA's Reasons for Proposing the Rule

VA said it proposed the elimination of copays for in-home telehealth services because it wants to improve access to care for veterans who have health conditions, are frail or face challenges traveling to clinics or hospitals.

The agency said it wants "to make the home a preferred place of care, whenever medically appropriate and possible."

VA also said copays should be waived for in-home telehealth care because the technology "is not used to provide complex care and its use significantly reduces impact on VA resources compared to an in-person, outpatient visit" (Norman, CQ HealthBeat, 4/6).

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