“This unprecedented pandemic has proven that telehealth not only works, but that it’s essential,” said Welch. “These practical telehealth provisions have been successfully implemented and should be continued to ensure that everyone has access to quality healthcare no matter where they live or how mobile they are. This is a commonsense step to make sure our policies keep pace with our technology.”
“Rising to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, providers nationwide are leaning in to telehealth to ensure patients have access to the care they need while safely social distancing. Especially in our medically underserved communities and for individuals highly vulnerable to the virus’ spread, leveraging telehealth is helping to advance our broader mission to equalize access to care,” said Matsui. “Waivers during the emergency have been critical to supporting digital care, but we must act to make these pro-telehealth policies permanent. This important legislation would permanently expand Medicare telehealth services to patients in all geographic areas and allow patients to receive virtual care at home. It also supports our FQHC’s ability to continue to provide vital services via telehealth. Recognizing our changing world, we must continue to explore and support innovative solutions to enhance access to health care, improve connectivity, and meet patients where they are at.”
Eliminating most geographic and originating site restrictions on the use of telehealth in Medicare and establishing the patient’s home as an eligible distant site so patients can receive telehealth care at home and doctors can still be reimbursed, Preventing a sudden loss of telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries by authorizing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service to continue reimbursement for telehealth for 90 days beyond the end of the public health emergency, Making permanent the disaster waiver authority, enabling Health and Human Service to expand telehealth in Medicare during all future emergencies and disasters, and Requiring a study on the use of telehealth during COVID, including its costs, uptake rates, measurable health outcomes, and racial and geographic disparities.
“Giving all seniors access to telehealth – regardless of geographic location – is the right policy, and one that’s been proven necessary by both patients and providers,” said Krista Drobac, Executive Director of the Alliance for Connected Care. “The Protecting Access to Post-COVID-19 Telehealth Act takes a critical step toward this goal.”
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth has allowed our nation’s healthcare system to continue to effectively deliver needed care virtually, ensuring patients can safely access care when and where they need it. As the only organization exclusively dedicated to advancing telehealth, the ATA commends the House Telehealth Caucus for introducing this essential but commonsense legislation to ensure Medicare patients continue to have the choice to access telehealth after the current public health emergency,” said Ann Mond Johnson, CEO, the ATA (American Telemedicine Association).
“Many healthcare organizations and their patients have welcomed the benefits that telehealth provided during the pandemic and they want them to continue. Extending telehealth flexibilities beyond the public health emergency will allow clinicians to continue to safely treats patients while battling this highly contagious disease,” said John Kravitz, Chair of CHIME Board of Trustees and CIO of Geisinger.
“The eHealth Initiative (eHI) is proud to support the Protecting Access to Post-COVID-19 Telehealth Act of 2020,” said eHI CEO Jennifer Covich Bordenick. “The legislation would once and for all remove arbitrary geographic restrictions on all Medicare telehealth services and ensure access for patients for whom traditional office visits don’t always work. We applaud Congressman Thompson and the House Telehealth Caucus for their continued leadership on telehealth and look forward to working with them to advance this critical legislation.”
“HIMSS and PCHAlliance applaud the introduction of the telehealth bill sponsored by Representative Thompson and members of the House Telehealth Caucus, and call upon Congress to take swift action and make permanent the flexibilities that have supported the use of evidence-based connected care technologies to improve healthcare quality, access, and value for all Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Hal Wolf, President and CEO of HIMSS.
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