ATA Supports Bipartisan Telehealth Modernization Act Legislation Introduced By Both The House And Senate To Increase Access To High-Quality Telehealth Services

WASHINGTON, DC, FEBRUARY 26, 2021 – The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) voiced its strong support of bipartisan legislation introduced this week by the House and Senate, intended to make permanent changes that will ensure access to telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries after the COVID-19 public health emergency expires.

“The American people should feel heartened that both chambers of Congress are taking such a strong and united bipartisan stance in favor of telehealth, to ensure all individuals, no matter where they live, have permanent access to safe, effective, and quality care wherever and whenever needed,” said Ann Mond Johnson, CEO, the American Telemedicine Association. “We are grateful to the many telehealth champions in both the House and the Senate, and on both sides of the aisle, who are coming together to ensure telehealth becomes a valuable and important option in healthcare delivery.”

On Tuesday, Senators Tim Scott (R-SC), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) reintroduced the Telehealth Modernization Act. This legislation is also backed by Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Roger Wicker (R-MS). Earlier today, Representatives Earl ‘Buddy’ Carter (R-GA) and Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del), introduced the House companion bill, echoing the permanent changes put forth in the Senate version, including the following provisions:

  • To permanently eliminate geographic and originating site restrictions on the use of telehealth in Medicare and establish the patient’s home as an eligible distant site, allowing patients to receive essential telehealth care at home and doctors to be reimbursed.
  • To allow the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) authority to permanently expand the types of telehealth services covered by Medicare, including telehealth services used for hospice and home dialysis care, and the types of care providers who able to deliver those services, such as physical therapists and other allied health professionals.

The ATA is a strong and steady advocate for this bipartisan, bicameral legislation. “Even under the most extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 public health emergency, telehealth services have proven to consistently deliver high-quality, safe, and effective care to rural and underserved communities and our most vulnerable patients. It has been a lifesaver for people unable to access in-person care,” added Mond Johnson. “Access to telehealth is no longer an option in today’s society, it is an essential component of care delivery. We applaud the unified leadership and vision of the sponsors of these bills and urge swift action by Congress to join these telehealth champions for the greater good of our nation’s health.

“The ATA believes these two bills compliment the CONNECT for Health Act, to create necessary policies that will allow our healthcare system to build a two-channel care delivery model, balancing in-person and virtual care to best serve the needs of all patients, no matter where or when they need care.”

About the ATA

As the only organization completely focused on advancing telehealth, the American Telemedicine Association is committed to ensuring that everyone has access to safe, affordable, and appropriate care when and where they need it, enabling the system to do more good for more people. The ATA represents a broad and inclusive member network of leading healthcare delivery systems, academic institutions, technology solution providers and payers, as well as partner organizations and alliances, working to advance industry adoption of telehealth, promote responsible policy, advocate for government and market normalization, and provide education and resources to help integrate virtual care into emerging value-based delivery models. @americantelemed #telehealthishealth #ATApolicy

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Gina Cella
Cella Communications