President, VA secretary announce Veteran telehealth initiatives designed to provide greater access, care

Today at the White House, President Trump and VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin announced three initiatives that will expand access to health care for Veterans across the country. Using telehealth technology and mobile applications, VA will connect with more Veterans to provide services where they live.

“This will significantly expand access to care for our Veterans, especially for those who need help in the area of mental health … and also in suicide prevention,” Trump said. “It will make a tremendous difference for the Veterans in rural locations.”

Through VA Telehealth VA can practice over 50 clinical specialties, from tele-dermatology to tele-intensive care, Shulkin explained. Many of the Veterans using telehealth live in rural areas or far away from their closest VA medical facility.

“VA already has the largest telehealth program in the country. Last year, we had 700,000 Veterans who got telehealth services through the VA,” Shulkin said.

Thursday’s announcement will expand VA’s Telehealth capability in three specific areas.

After working with the White House Office of American Innovation and the Department of Justice, Shulkin announced he will be issuing a regulation that explicitly authorizes VA providers, using telehealth technologies, to serve Veterans no matter where the provider or the Veteran is located in the country. The “Anywhere to Anywhere VA Health Care” initiative will empower VA to hire providers in major metropolitan areas, where there is an abundance of clinical services and connect them to better serve Veterans in rural communities that lack sufficient medical services.

VA plans