VA Ready to Waive Telehealth Co-Pays

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. The proposed rule is available here and the direct final rule is here.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.