The current COVID-19 health crisis has put a massive strain on the health care system in our country. During this time telehealth services have emerged as a critical tool to provide care to patients while supporting physical distancing efforts and reducing the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases by avoiding unnecessary outpatient visits.
Stories are coming in from all over the country from physicians and patients alike about the positive effects of expanding telehealth. It has continued to allow physicians to provide high-quality care using new digital tools.
While we must remain vigilant in our battle with COVID-19, it is important to recognize that
expanded use of telehealth technology should have a place in our health care system permanently.
While Congress considers new "phase-four" COVID-19 relief legislation they should ensure that telehealth services are covered and remain available at the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Specifically, Congress should permanently lift the geographic and site restrictions on telehealth technologies so all Medicare beneficiaries have access to telehealth services, including from home, regardless of where they live.
CMS: Upcoming Medicare payment rule to include permanent telehealth expansions
: “An upcoming Medicare payment rule will include proposals outlining how the Trump administration plans to permanently expand reimbursement for telehealth services. Health providers should watch for the agency's annual proposed Physician Fee Schedule rule, which typically publishes in July (...). -
HHS will renew public health emergency
: "Some notable policies attached to the public health emergency are the Medicare inpatient 20% add-on payment for COVID-19 patients, increased federal Medicaid matching rates, requirements that insurers cover COVID-19 testing without cost-sharing, and waivers of telehealth restrictions." -