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May 10, 2012   |  Senator Jon Tester

Under pressure from Tester, VA waives payments for telehealth visits

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester scored another victory for Montana’s veterans this week, getting the Department of Veterans Affairs to drop copayments for using telehealth and telemedicine services to increase veterans’ access to care.

Veterans in rural areas or with limited mobility use telehealth services to receive care in their homes or at local clinics.  Data shows that using telehealth technology helps patients with chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension live better, more independent lives.

Tester introduced the bipartisan Veterans Telehealth Act last year to waive the copays and has repeatedly pushed for more technology to expand rural veterans’ access to care.  He said waiving copayments, which can be up to $50 per visit, will encourage even more veterans to use telehealth services.

“Montana veterans often live hundreds of miles from the nearest VA hospital or clinic,” said Tester, who helped bring VA telehealth offices to Hamilton and Plentywood in 2010.  “Waiving these fees will encourage more veterans to take advantage of telehealth services, which can make a huge difference for rural veterans who have few other options for care.”

In addition to improving veterans’ health care, telehealth services also save rural veterans the hardship of traveling long distances and save the VA money by reducing travel reimbursement costs.

Tester, Montana’s only member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, held a committee field hearing in Billings last month that focused on improving health care access for Montana’s rural veterans.  He also recently introduced a bill to clarify that VA health care is exempt from any upcoming reductions in the federal budget.


Office Contact Information

Senator Tester's Montana staff serves the state from offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Glendive, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Please bring your concerns with federal agencies, academy nominations, and other situations to one of these Montana offices.


Judge Jameson Federal Building
2900 4th Ave N, Suite 201
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 252-0550
Fax: (406) 252-7768


Avant Courier Building
1 E Main Street, Suite 202
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 586-4450
Fax: (406) 586-7647


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125 W Granite, Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 723-3277
Fax: (406) 782-4717


122 W Towne
Glendive, MT 59330
Phone: (406) 365-2391
Fax: (406) 365-8836

Great Falls

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Great Falls, MT 59401
Phone: (406) 452-9585
Fax: (406) 452-9586


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208 N Montana Avenue, Suite 202
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462


8 Third Street E
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-3360
Fax: (406) 257-3974


130 W Front Street
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003
Fax: (406) 728-2193

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