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“If a close look at this pilot program shows that veterans are healthier when they use fitness monitors, it’s worth considering whether these efforts can be expanded through Medicare or private insurance. These fitness trackers may be a simple way to improve health care and lower costs for many Americans.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced a bill to determine whether a pilot program through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is delivering high-quality care to veterans by using wearable fitness monitors and whether the program should be expanded.

“Our veterans deserve incredible care, and I want to make sure they’re getting it. If a close look at this pilot program shows that veterans are healthier when they use fitness monitors, it’s worth considering whether these efforts can be expanded through Medicare or private insurance. These fitness trackers may be a simple way to improve health care and lower costs for many Americans,” said Kennedy.

The VA has operated a pilot program, VETERANS (Veteran Engagement Through Electronic Resources and Notifications Study), that provides Garmin and Apple Watches, FitBits or other wearable technology to veterans who have recently undergone surgery related to atrial fibrillation. The program also includes patients enrolled in weight management, cardiac rehabilitation and other programs. The devices help veterans monitor their heart rates and better track their overall health in coordination with the VA.

Because the program was not established through legislation, there is currently no report requirement related to the pilot program. This bill would require the Secretary of the VA to provide a report by the end of fiscal year 2022 on the pilot program’s findings to determine whether it is effective and whether the program could potentially be implemented through the Medicare system or other health care providers. 

The bill text is available here.