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Rep. Thompson’s STEP Act Passes the House

By Frank Filkosky, Contributing Writer

The U.S. House has recently passed an amendment to the Defense Department’s reauthorization bill that will attempt to cover any unprotected areas for men and women in the military and veterans.

Representative Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-Centre) proposed the Servicemember’s Telemedicine and E-Health Portability (STEP) Act earlier this year, and the final DoD bill contained an amendment nearly identical to his proposal.

The provision allows physicians to provide care across the state using technology to as Thompson said, “fulfill a pledge to take care of our veterans – no matter where they live – at no new cost to the taxpayers.”

The amendment focuses on technology and modernization to assist military members in getting the care they need across the state and nation.  It is not meant to be a change to any scope of practice laws in the Department of Defense medical plan, merely to allow medicine to be taken care of more efficiently so no one is neglected.

“With the increased pressure on today’s military, it is important that Congress remove barriers that prevent access to qualified care,” argued Thompson.  Not much convincing was necessary however, as the Act received bipartisan support passing with a vote of 322-96.  Rep. Thompson stressed this was a necessary amendment for veterans in his rural district, but said that veterans and soldiers all across the country will benefit from modernization to the Department of Defense medical system.

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