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VA Ready to Waive Telehealth Co-pays

Published by HealthData Management
April 9, 2012

Unless there are significant adverse comments on rules published in March, the Department of Veterans Affairs in May will eliminate co-payments for in-home video telehealth sessions.

VA published a proposed rule on March 6 to waive co-payments with a 30-day comment period that has expired. "This would remove a barrier that may have previously discouraged veterans from choosing to use in-home video telehealth as a viable medical care option," according to the rule. "In turn, VA hopes to make the home a preferred place of care, whenever medically appropriate and possible."

Also on March 6, VA published a "direct final rule" that is substantially the same as the proposed rule. Under the direct final rule, elimination of the co-payment becomes effective on May 7 without further notice unless the agency received relevant adverse comments on the proposed rule. A direct final rule can accompany a proposed rule to speed the rulemaking process if an agency anticipates a rule will be con-controversial. If "significant" adverse comments are received, VA will publish in the Federal Register a notice of receipt of the comments and withdraw of the direct final rule.

The Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare, an industry advocacy group, strongly supports the rules.

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