WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman David Schweikert (AZ-06) announced the re-introduction of the Safe Testing at Residence Telehealth (START) Act of 2021. This bipartisan legislation would provide robust at-home COVID-19 testing for seniors and other vulnerable populations.
“The coronavirus pandemic has brought on unprecedented challenges for all Americans, particularly our vulnerable, senior populations who are most at risk for contracting COVID-19 and have continued to stay isolated from family and friends,” said Schweikert. “One area where we have seen incredibly positive changes has been for seniors utilizing telehealth and at-home care tools, with growing appreciation for the flexibility and comfort this care can provide. I am proud to re-introduce this legislation to continue our much-needed expansion of healthcare technology.”
Research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Kaiser Family Foundation have found that U.S. adults age 65 and older account for roughly 16 percent of the population and 80 percent of COVID-19 deaths.
The Safe Testing at Residence Telehealth Act of 2021 would amend the Social Security Act by adding coverage and payment for Medicare beneficiaries to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved at-home tests. The approved tests would help diagnose or discount a diagnosis of COVID-19 or other similar respiratory infection and be done in conjunction with an assistive telehealth consultation.
Through this legislation, seniors will be able to safely consult with their physician from the comfort of their home. Relieved of risking exposure or coordinating transportation, families and health officials will now have more complete data to act on. Seniors prove to continue adapting to the new models of care made available thanks to generous telehealth waiver restrictions. From January to June of 2020, 43 percent of Medicare nationwide primary care claims have been through telehealth.
This legislation is co-sponsored by Congressmen Bobby Rush (D-IL-01) and Mike Kelly (R-PA-16). To read the full text of this legislation, click HERE.