Mohana Ravindranath | Nextgov | August 30, 2017 | 0 Comments

Lawmakers Worry Hospitals Are Abusing Telehealth for Financial Gain


A video conferencing system that lets doctors examine patients across the country could help veterans in remote areas get treatment without traveling, but lawmakers are concerned that rewarding hospitals for enrolling patients could lead to abuse.

Virtual health care, often known as telehealth, scored support from President Donald Trump, who recently described plans to expand the Veterans Affairs program. Earlier this month, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin announced a new application called VA Video Connect, which would let health care providers video chat with patients on their smartphones.

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A Wednesday House Veterans Affairs subcommittee hearing surfaced concerns from lawmakers that medical providers might be over-enrolling patients in telehealth programs when in-person care might be more effective. Committee members probed Veterans Affairs health officials on the costs and benefits of virtual care.

Here are a few takeaways from that hearing: