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New Federal Telehealth House Bill Would Make Some Expansions Permanent

By July 22, 2020 No Comments

new telehealth bill in the US House of Representatives released late last week aims to make some of the telehealth expansions in Medicare that require a change in law permanent.  The bill would allow the Secretary to waive or modify any requirements associated with telehealth services during an emergency, disaster or a public health emergency and ending 90 days after its expiration.  It would also eliminate the requirement that the patient be located in a rural area in order to be eligible for reimbursement under Medicare as well as allow the patient to be located in their home, starting January 1, 2021.  FQHCs and RHCs would be added as eligible telehealth distant site providers.  Finally, the new House bill would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the CMS Administrator to submit a report to congress on telehealth service utilization as well as assessment of benefits and barriers experienced during the emergency period.  This bill coincides with the publication of CMS Administrator Seema Verma’s latest Health Affairs Blog, which indicates that at least some of the administrative changes CMS has made to expand telehealth reimbursement could be made permanent. The blog indicates that as part of the CMS review, they are looking at “the impact these changes have had on access to care, health outcomes, Medicare spending and impact on the health care delivery system.”  Stay tuned for future updates from CCHP.