VA MISSION ACT OF 2018 and Telehealth Law and Policy: A Closer Look at Governing the Practice of Telehealth for Veterans' Mental Health

By Amy Cooperstein, J.D. Candidate 2021, Fordham University School of Law, New York, NY

Introduction

The innovative delivery of medical care through telehealth has forever transformed mental health services for veterans. Federal legislation ensures that the implementation and practice of telehealth for veterans are effective. The VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act of 2018, also known as the VA Mission Act of 2018 (Mission Act) greatly expanded the ability of veterans to obtain mental health services via telehealth.1 However, there are legal issues inherent in telehealth that the Mission Act does not resolve, which could negatively impact the veteran population. These issues include operational access to care barriers in the form of provider shortages and broadband availability; privacy and confidentiality risks associated with telehealth encounters; and questions regarding the appropriate method for the delivery of mental health services through telehealth. The federal government should address these issues in order to maintain and improve the delivery of mental health services to veterans. 

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