Trending News Today: Telehealth Program Aims to Improve Veteran Care

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

A new telehealth program aims to increase electronic access to medical care for veterans, according to USA Today. The new initiative announced by President Donald Trump, connects veterans with health care providers via computers and mobile phones to improve patient care, especially for those in need of mental health and suicide prevention services. The application allows veterans to schedule appointments with their smart phones, and the digital app can be found at the Veterans Affairs app store, USA Today reported. Last year, more than 700,000 veterans made roughly 2 million telehealth appointments.

This week, the FDA released emails regarding an internal battle that occurred last year over efforts to modernize the approval and regulation of new drugs, The Wall Street Journal reported. One FDA official rebuked the top agency official who drove the decision to approve a drug that treats a form of muscular dystrophy, which brought significant controversy.

The US Senate approved the Right to Try act yesterday, which gives terminally ill patients access to experimental drugs that have yet to be approved. According to The Wall Street Journal, the legislation was championed by the Goldwater Institute, a libertarian group that worked to pass similar legislation in 37 states. The federal version now heading to Congress would prevent the government from blocking patient access to medications that have only undergone preliminary testing in humans. Patients will first be required to try all other available treatment options and be ineligible for clinical trials, the WSJ reported. Additionally, the bill would provide some legal protection for drug manufacturers if a treatment causes harm.