690K Veterans Received Telehealth Services During FY 2014, VA Says
The Department of Veterans Affairs provided telehealth services to more than 690,000 veterans during fiscal year 2014, compared with 608,000 in FY 2013, according to VA data released Friday, FierceHealthIT reports.
Details of Telehealth Services
According to VA, the 690,000 veterans who received telehealth services represent 12% of all veterans enrolled in health care system. Of those who used telehealth, about 55% lived in rural areas where it can be difficult to access VA facilities, according to the data.
In addition, the data showed that the number of telehealth visits increased from 1.8 million in FY 2013 to two million in FY 2014 (Hall, FierceHealthIT, 10/13).
VA also noted that its teleAudiology program has grown from serving 1,016 veterans during FY 2011 to more than 10,589 in FY 2014 (VA release, 10/10).
Currently, VA offers telehealth services for 44 clinical specialties, including:
- Eye exams;
- Mental health services; and
- Podiatry (FierceHealthIT, 10/13).
In a release, VA Secretary Robert McDonald touted telehealth as an area for future growth at VA. He said, "A brick-and-mortar facility is not the only option for health care," adding, "We are exploring how we can more efficiently and effectively deliver health care services to better serve our veterans and improve their lives" (Gold, "Morning eHealth," Politico, 10/13).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.