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Telemedicine is a type of medical electronics for the delivery of healthcare services and medical care management that allows for real-time, two-way communication between the patient and the providers [1]. A telemedicine school often functions as the originating or spoke site, and it is where the crux of the hardware is located. The spoke site is where the patient is located. Veterans who are in need of specialty medical services such as dermatology, diabetes treatment, and psychiatric treatment could receive many of their services through telemedicine schools.

When Veterans May Need Telemedicine

Upon return to civilian life, veterans may live in a small town or a rural area. In some cases, the veteran might be located hundreds of miles from the nearest Veteran’s Administration hospital. The nearest hospital might even be across state lines. In such situations, telemedicine could allow the veteran to receive care at a small hospital or medical office through an interactive, real-time system that connects the patient to the specialist. The telemedicine system also allows the distant specialist to talk with the veteran’s internal medicine or family medicine physician.

Guidelines and Reimbursement for Telemedicine Care Provided to Veterans

Telemedicine is a reimbursed service under Medicaid [1] and through the Veteran’s Affairs Administration. There are specific billing codes that providers can use in order to receive payment for dermatology, emergency care and psychiatric treatment. Each state is allowed to set up its own guidelines for telemedicine reimbursement. The federal guidelines include efficiency, economy and the quality of the careprovided to veterans.

Advantages of Telemedicine Care for Veterans

Telemedicine expands the access to care for veterans and allows them to do more self-management of diabetes and other chronic conditions [2]. In the case of a medical emergency, such as a stroke, a telehealth consultation could save valuable time and allow for the delivery of life-saving drugs that reduce the damage caused by a blood clot or bleeding in the brain [3]. Telehealth emergency laws will need to be developed in order to ensure that providers are adhering to the state laws in the place where the veteran is located if the veteran is in an out-of-state facility.

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References:

1. https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/benefits/telemed/index.html
2. http://www.aafp.org/news/practice-professional-issues/20140205rgctelemedicineforum.html
3. https://www.acep.org/telemedicine/