WASHINGTON — Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17), a longtime champion for increasing telehealth availability, voted to pass the Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act – bipartisan legislation to ensure that Medicare patients can continue to access telehealth services beyond the current public health emergency. The White House has announced its support for the legislation through a Statement of Administration Policy.
“Every American deserves access to high-quality, affordable health care – no matter where they live,” said Congresswoman Bustos. “Today, we passed bipartisan legislation that will allow folks enrolled in Medicare to continue to take advantage of telehealth benefits, even when the current public health emergency comes to an end. These services have been a lifeline for patients across the country and particularly in rural communities where access to medical facilities is limited.”
The Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act would:
- Allow Medicare beneficiaries to receive telehealth services from any location, including their homes;
- Expand Medicare coverage of telehealth services for all beneficiaries, instead of only those in rural areas;
- Allow for more types of providers, such as Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics, to provide telehealth under Medicare;
- Allow Medicare beneficiaries to receive audio-only services, instead of requiring a sometimes unnecessary visual component;
- Delays in-person requirements for mental health services to be provided through telehealth; and
- Allows hospice providers to conduct face-to-face requirements via telehealth.