Policy Updates

October 6, 2020

ATA's Telehealth Terminology and Policy Language for States on Medical Practice

ATA Terminology and Policy Language


The standardized telehealth terminology and policy language for states on medical practice was developed by the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) to serve as a toolkit for state policymakers throughout the country as they grapple with crafting telehealth laws that work in the best interest of their constituents. The policy options and terminology, if adopted by state legislatures, will expand patient access to healthcare services, improve quality of care and reduce costs through the use of telehealth.

The standardized telehealth terminology and policy language for states on coverage and reimbursement was developed by the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) to serve as a toolkit for state policymakers throughout the country as they grapple with crafting telehealth laws that work in the best interest of their constituents. The policy options and terminology, if adopted by state legislatures, will expand patient access to healthcare services, improve quality of care and reduce costs through the use of telehealth.

In an October 5 letter, the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) submitted comments to the Washington Medical Commission on the draft telemedicine rule language.

September 24, 2020

ATA's Comments on the 2021 Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule

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.

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

August 5, 2020

Letter of Endorsement for HR 7663

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).

June 23, 2020

Letter to Congressional Leadership on Telehealth Legislative Priorities – Sign on Today!

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

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.  

May 1, 2020

CMS Interim Final Rule: Summary of Key Telehealth Provisions

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.

April 27, 2020

HRSA Launches New CARES Act Fund to Cover COVID-19 Testing and Treatment

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.

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.  

April 8, 2020

FCC COVID-19 Telehealth Program Application Guidance

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

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.

In 2018, Congress and CMS recognized our calls to action and provided our industry with a variety of new and unique opportunities to demonstrate the value of telehealth. Perhaps the biggest opportunity created by federal policy changes lies in the Medicare Advantage (MA) program. CMS has allowed three things for the Medicare Advantage population in the coming plan years: 1) the ability to include telehealth in the base bid rather than as a supplemental benefit, 2) the ability to use telehealth providers to meet MA network adequacy standards, and 3) the ability to apply differential cost sharing for “high value providers” (meaning that plans could choose to charge beneficiaries $0 copays for telehealth providers).