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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Washington, D.C.—Today, U.S. Representatives Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-05) and Charles B. Rangel (NY-13) introduced H.R. 2516, the Veterans E-Health and Telemedicine Support Act of 2015.

"When our service men and women are called to duty, they do so selflessly with only the country in mind,” said Rep Thompson. “When they return home, it is our shared duty to be there for these heroes, by making lifesaving resources readily accessible. The Veterans E-Health and Telemedicine Support Act will eliminate multiple layers of bureaucracy, allowing our veterans to have greater access to mental and behavioral health services, especially in rural areas,” Thompson added.

"We must keep our promise to America's heroes and ensure them the treatment, protection, and opportunities that they so rightfully deserve," said Rep Rangel. "I am proud to introduce this legislation that is really about fulfilling our duty to our veterans who so valiantly served our nation. Allowing veterans easy access to the care they need is the least we can do. Until veterans truly have full access to the proper care they need, we have not yet fulfilled our duty to repay our service members for their bravery and heroism," added Rep Rangel.

This bipartisan legislation would allow Veterans Affairs (VA) health professionals, including contractors, to practice telemedicine across state borders if they are qualified, and practice within the scope of their authorized federal duties, a big improvement on the status quo. Currently, overly cumbersome location requirements can make it difficult for veterans - especially those struggling with mental health issues - to get the help they need and deserve.

Under current law, the VA can only waive the state license requirement for treatment if both the physician and patient are located in a federally-owned facility. The Veterans E-Health & Telemedicine Support Act of 2015 removes these barriers and allows the VA to provide treatment through physicians free of this restriction. Veterans will no longer be required to travel to a VA facility, but rather can receive telemedicine treatment from anywhere, including their home or a community center.

Also joining as original co-sponsors are: Reps. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Walter B. Jones (R-NC), Lois Capps (D-CA), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Bobby L. Rush (D-IL), Jose E. Serrano (D-NY), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Jared Polis (D-CO), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU At-Large).

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