38 CFR § 17.417 - Health care providers practicing via telehealth.

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§ 17.417 Health care providers practicing via telehealth.

(a)Definitions. The following definitions apply to this section.

(1)Beneficiary. The term beneficiary means a veteran or any other individual receiving health care under title 38 of the United States Code.

(2)Health care provider. The term health care provider means an individual who:

(i) Is licensed, registered, or certified in a State to practice a health care specialty identified under 38 U.S.C. 7402(b);

(ii) Is appointed to an occupation in the Veterans Health Administration that is listed in or authorized under 38 U.S.C. 7401(1) or (3);

(iii) Maintains credentials (e.g., a license, registration, or certification) in accordance with the requirements of his or her health care specialty as identified under 38 U.S.C. 7402(b); and

(iv) Is not a VA-contracted health care provider.

(3)State. The term State means a State as defined in 38 U.S.C. 101(20), or a political subdivision of such a State.

(4)Telehealth. The term telehealth means the use of electronic information or telecommunications technologies to support clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health, and health administration.

(b)Health care provider's practice via telehealth.

(1)Health care providers may provide telehealth services, within their scope of practice, functional statement, and/or in accordance with privileges granted to them by VA, irrespective of the State or location within a State where the health care provider or the beneficiary is physically located. Health care providers' practice is subject to the limitations imposed by the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. 801, et seq., on the authority to prescribe or administer controlled substances, as well as any other limitations on the provision of VA care set forth in applicable Federal law and policy. This section only grants health care providers the ability to practice telehealth within the scope of their VA employment and does not otherwise grant health care providers additional authorities that go beyond what is required or authorized by Federal law and regulations or as defined in the laws and practice acts of the health care providers' State license, registration, or certification.

(2) Situations where a health care provider's VA practice of telehealth may be inconsistent with a State law or State license, registration, or certification requirements related to telehealth include when:

(i) The beneficiary and the health care provider are physically located in different States during the episode of care;

(ii) The beneficiary is receiving services in a State other than the health care provider's State of licensure, registration, or certification;

(iii) The health care provider is delivering services in a State other than the health care provider's State of licensure, registration, or certification;

(iv) The health care provider is delivering services either on or outside VA property;

(v) The beneficiary is receiving services while she or he is located either on or outside VA property;

(vi) The beneficiary has or has not previously been assessed, in person, by the health care provider; or

(vii) Other State requirements would prevent or impede the practice of health care providers delivering telehealth to VA beneficiaries.

(c)Preemption of State law. To achieve important Federal interests, including, but not limited to, the ability to provide the same complete health care and hospital service to beneficiaries in all States under 38 U.S.C. 7301, this section preempts conflicting State laws relating to the practice of health care providers when such health care providers are practicing telehealth within the scope of their VA employment. Any State law, rule, regulation or requirement pursuant to such law, is without any force or effect on, and State governments have no legal authority to enforce them in relation to, this section or decisions made by VA under this section.

[83 FR 21906, May 11, 2018]