Healthcare Organizations Demand Waivers For Medicare Telehealth Restrictions

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Many healthcare groups want waivers for Medicare Telehealth Restrictions.
  • The healthcare groups have collectively written a letter to US Congress.

The healthcare groups such as American Telemedicine Association (ATA), Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), eHealth Initiative, Health Innovation Alliance, and Personal Connected Health Alliance, are demanding US Congress to enable Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to expand access to virtual care for coronavirus patients.

With coronavirus spreading rapidly, taxing the resources of U.S. health systems as they stretch to manage the probability of more COVID-19 patients, the American Telemedicine Association and other healthcare organizations wish for a relief.

In a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and other Congressional leaders, the healthcare organizations have asked Congress to make money from the COVID-19 supplemental appropriation available for more telehealth services. These groups are also requesting for an accompanying provision that would give Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, authority to waive the restrictions on telehealth visits during a public health emergency currently imposed by Medicare.

Healthcare groups have requested Congress to provide the Trump Administration with “as many tools as possible” to give healthcare professionals support they need. In the letter, they wrote:

“The telehealth restrictions currently in place for Medicare run the risk of slowing access to care for seniors in this critical time.”

Urging Congress to consider Sec. 9 of the CONNECT for Health Act of 2019 in the upcoming COVID-19 supplemental legislation, the groups demanded HHS to waive telehealth restrictions for Medicare beneficiaries during national emergencies. They stressed the need to expand the array, along with the reach of technologies that could provide care to those in need.

Things spoken on the record

The letter said that telehealth was safe and cost-effective. Therefore, its reach needed to be expanded. Many officials acknowledged the key role of telehealth in public health emergency, with regards to efficient quarantine, speed diagnosis, and treatment.

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