The bill clears Medicare beneficiaries to continue to receive telehealth services at any site, regardless of type or location; permits occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech-language pathologists and audiologists to continue to furnish telehealth services; allows behavioral health services to continue to be provided via audio-only technology; and lets hospice physicians and nurse practitioners to continue to complete certain requirements relating to patient recertifications via telehealth.
“This bill would build on the experience and best practices learned during the pandemic and modernize our health care system to expand access to quality, affordable care, especially in rural and underserved communities. During the pandemic, millions of Medicare beneficiaries have relied on telehealth not only for COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment, but also to safely and conveniently access preventative and routine health care, monitor chronic conditions, and seek mental health care. The expansion of telehealth during the COVID-19 public health emergency was vital for people with Medicare to maintain access to care they might otherwise have skipped or been unable to access at all due to distance and time, lack of access to transportation, or safety considerations,” notes the Statement of Administration Policy about the bill.
“Telehealth has long been a bipartisan healthcare issue and we now turn to the Senate to ensure this important piece of legislation makes it to President Biden’s desk so he can sign it into law,” said Kyle Zebley, executive director of ATA Action, in a press release.
The U.S. Senate received the bill on July 28, and it has since been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.