Despite numerous bills to solidify telehealth flexibilities enacted during the pandemic, none have passed in Congress, leaving the future of telehealth access and adoption uncertain.
– The significant spike in the use of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic was made possible by numerous legislative waivers that were quickly enacted as in-person care stalled. Two years later, many of those flexibilities are still intact, but their future is unclear.
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Three telehealth legislation experts — Jacob Harper, an associate with law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, Christa Natoli, executive director of the Center for Telehealth and E-Health Law (CTeL), and Ben Steinhafel, policy director of CTeL — discussed the current regulatory landscape for telehealth at the federal and state levels on the Healthcare Strategies podcast.
At the federal level, several bills have been introduced to make permanent or extend flexibilities enacted during the pandemic, including the CONNECT for Health Act and Telehealth Extension Act. One of the key provisions in these bills is eliminating geographic restrictions on originating sites for telehealth services.
But none of these bills have passed yet, though Congress did extend telehealth waivers for Medicare beneficiaries for at least five months after the public health emergency officially expires.
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