COVID-19

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ATA's 2021 PFS Comments

In a September 24 letter American Telemedicine Association (ATA) CEO Ann Mond Johnson submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on the CY 2021 Physician Fee Schedule proposed rule strongly supporting increased access to telehealth services in the Medicare program, including for underserved populations.

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This chart outlines the telehealth flexibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic and the ATA’s recommendations for permanent policy.

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Massachusetts House Bill 4916

ATA sent a letter to members of the Massachusetts General Court regarding the telehealth industry’s support for amending language in House Bill 4916.

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Protecting Access to Post-COVID-19 Telehealth Act of 2020

The ATA helped lead a letter thanking congressional House Telehealth Caucus members for their continued leadership. The letter, dated August 3, 2020, noted the broad telehealth industry support for recently introduced legislation, the Protecting Access to Post-COVID-19 Telehealth Act of 2020 (HR 7663).

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The deadline to add your support is June 26 at 2pm ET

Following Joe Kvedar’s Senate testimony last week, the ATA has worked alongside members and other leading digital health organizations to draft a multi-stakeholder letter that will be sent to Congressional leadership next week. Our goal is to rally strong support to address the current statutory restrictions on patient geography and originating site limitations. While the priorities in the letter are not the only policy changes that will be required to ensure the current telehealth flexibilities can continue post-pandemic, they are the most immediate that Congress must address before the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) expires. Please use the link below to access the letter and add your organization to the list of supporters. The deadline to add your support is June 26 at 2pm ET. Letter: Post-COVID-19 Telehealth Priorities

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FDA COVID-19 EUA

On May 7, 2020, the US FDA authorized the first COVID-19 test for home collection using saliva. Importantly, the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) is specifically  for the Rutgers Clinical Genomics Laboratory TaqPath SARS-CoV-2 Assay when used with the Spectrum Solutions LLC SDNA-1000 Saliva Collection Device. A healthcare provider must determine the test to be appropriate and the specimen must still be sent to a laboratory for processing and test reporting.  

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CMS Interim Final Rule (Part 2)

On April 30, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued an updated interim final rule that further expands Medicare coverage for telehealth. ATA has worked closely with members to advocate for these key policy changes and applauds CMS for continuing to support the rapid expansion of telehealth.

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COVID-19 Supplemental Appropriation

ATA submitted recommendations to Congress on measures to facilitate the use of telehealth and expand the use of virtual care by health care providers during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

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Provider Reimbursement of Uninsured Testing and Treatment

On April 27, 2020, the Health and Human Services, Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) launched a new CARES-mandated program to reimburse health care providers for COVID-19 related testing and treatment. The HRSA application portal will begin accepting patient information and claims for payment starting May 6.

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FDA COVID-19 EUA

On April 20, 2020, the US FDA authorized the first COVID-19 test for home collection of specimens. Importantly, the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) is specifically for the home specimen collection method for the LabCorp COVID-19 RT-PCR Test. The specimen must still be sent to a laboratory for processing and test reporting.  

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Guidance on Applying for FCC COVID-19 Telehealth Funding

As part of the CARES Act, the FCC launched the $200 million COVID-19 Telehealth Program to support health care providers in expanding telehealth and remote patient monitoring technology to patients. The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau will begin accepting applications for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program beginning Monday, April 13, 2020 at 12:00 PM ET at www.fcc.gov/covid19telehealth

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FAQs for ATA Members

The FCC has launched two funding programs to support health care providers in expanding telehealth and virtual care to patients. The April 2 FCC Report and Order establishes two distinct programs – the COVID-19 Telehealth Program and the Connected Care Pilot Program.

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COVID-19: ATA Recommendations to HHS & CMS

As follow up to the ATA’s March 13 recommendations, the ATA provided HHS and CMS with recommendations on additional actions that would further support health care providers seeking to provide telehealth services in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

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POLICY UPDATE - 3.31.20

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H.R.748 - CARES Act

ATA submitted recommendations to Congress on measures to facilitate the use of telehealth and expand the use of virtual care by health care providers during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

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ATA Recommendations to the Administration on the COVID-19 Response

ATA submitted recommendations to the Administration on actions that can immediately be taken to facilitate the use of telehealth and expand the use of virtual care by health care providers during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

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H.R.6201 - Families First Coronavirus Response Act

ATA, along with a number of health care stakeholders, submitted a follow up letter urging Congress to address barriers that were built into the telehealth waiver provision of the Coronavirus Supplemental Appropriation that are preventing health care providers from fully leveraging and scaling critical telehealth services needed to combat COVID-19.

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COVID-19 Supplemental Appropriation

ATA CEO Ann Mond Johnson submitted a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services urging them to leverage the telehealth waiver authority provided under H.R.6074, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020. This waiver removes telehealth geographic site restrictions for Medicare beneficiaries, providing critical access to care for patients affected by COVID-19.

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H.R.6074 - Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020

ATA, along with a number of health care stakeholders, submitted a letter urging Congress to expand access to telehealth services in the COVID-19 supplemental appropriation and provide the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) with the authority to waive existing Medicare restrictions on telehealth visits during a public health emergency.