“The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Indian Health Service announced they are using some of the funding they received under a recent coronavirus-response appropriations package to expand telehealth coverage.”
“The $2.2 trillion law passed in March contained telehealth-specific provisions for the VA and IHS, and both agencies say they are now working to spend their extra cash on resources to deliver medical services remotely.”
“Both agencies are responsible for large health care systems that are bracing for COVID-19 patients but also are required to care for other health care needs. Both the VA and IHS care for populations that have high rates of health conditions that raise the chance of death caused by COVID-19 and need to reach patients in remote and rural areas.”
Buying more tech
“To be able to send non-essential workers home and care for more veterans remotely, the VA requested money to purchase at least 180,000 new devices. The VA also reduced the paperwork needed to be qualified to telework for some regions. In the new law, called the CARES Act, the VA has been granted authority to enter into free or reduced-price telecommunications contracts to reach rural veterans for mental health services…”
Expanding telehealth pilots
“The Indian Health Services, a component of the Department of Health and Human Services, is tasked with serving 2.6 million Americans Indians and Alaska Natives living on reservations and in urban settings. In early April, IHS said it completed test runs using Cisco’s encrypted teleconference services in Oklahoma City and around Navajo territory. The IHS also says it is expanding training on the system…” Read the full article here.
Source: Health agencies use supplemental funding to expand telehealth – By Jackson Barnett, April 8, 2020. FedScoop.