Thompson: Military Transition Telemedicine Amendment Signed into Law

BELLEFONTE – President Barack Obama Thursday signed into law the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act.

The bipartisan measure, which recently passed the House by a vote of 350 to 69 and the Senate by a vote of 84 to 15, authorizes funding and sets policy for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Thompson, who voted to support the bill, successfully included an amendment that will expand health care coverage through telemedicine for service members transitioning to civilian life.

“I am very pleased that members of the House and Senate were able to find common ground and pass this important bill that offers critical support to the military, our service members and their families,” stated Thompson.

Under the previous policy, service members and their families could utilize 180 days of health care coverage during the transition from military to civilian life through what is known as the Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP).

Thompson’s amendment is designed to protect individuals coping with Post-Traumatic Stress, which may not present symptoms in some cases until 8-10 months after leaving the military (see: here and here).  The amendment extends TAMP coverage by an additional 180 days for all services rendered through telemedicine.

“For those burdened by physical and psychological injuries as a result of their service in uniform, we must take every action to help them rebuild,” Thompson added. “This bill takes meaningful steps to improve the support we offer these brave men and women as they transition to civilian life, especially those coping with behavioral health injuries, while also making it easier to access care.”

The amendment builds on Thompson’s 2011 STEP Act, now Public Law 112-81, Section 713, which expanded service member health care services and the use of telemedicine at the Department of Defense.    

Click here to view the legislative language of Thompson’s amendment.

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