VA awards $1.38 billion in telehealth contracts

The Department of Veterans Affairs this week awarded contracts to six IT vendors to run its massive (and growing) telehealth program for the next five years. The winners: Authentidate, American Telecare, Cardiocom, HealthHero Network, Visual Telecommunication Network/ViTelCare, and Viterion TeleHealthcare.

The prize: About $1.38 billion in VA telehealth contracts. The individual vendor contracts run anywhere from $150 million to $372 million over the five-year period, VA officials tell FierceMobileHealthcare. That total isn't guaranteed, though. Each vendor starts out with a single-year contract, which is renewable in each of the following four years.

What's really interesting: The VA's clear leap into telehealth. The smallest of the new contracts--$150 million for Viterion Tele-Healthcare--is just shy of the agency's entire telehealth budget of $163 million last year. It is somewhat on trend, though, given that the 2010 budget was a 50 percent jump over 2009 spending.

The contracts do cover both traditional video-based telehealth systems, according to Authentidate officials. They also cover sensor-based remote monitoring systems in patient homes.

To learn more:
- read Authentidate's press release
- check out MobileHealthWatch's coverage