Efforts to Advance Telehealth Legislation Continue in Congress

On Wednesday, September 13th, the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held a markup on several bills, including the Furthering Access to Stroke Telemedicine (FAST) Act of 2017 (H.R. 1148), and a bill to extend the Medicare Independence at Home Medical Practice Demonstration Program (H.R. 3263). The FAST Act of 2017 would expand access to tele-stroke under the Medicare program by waiving certain originating site and geographic limitations, while the Independence at Home bill would extend the demonstration program for two years and increase participation to 15,000 beneficiaries. The bill also includes language requiring that the mandated report to Congress include information on the use of electronic health information systems under the program. Both bills were approved by voice vote and are now able to move to the full Committee for markup.

Also on Wednesday, September 13th, the full House Ways & Means Committee held a markup of a number of Medicare-related bills, including the Increasing Telehealth Access in Medicare Act (H.R. 3727). This bill would increases access to telehealth services for Medicare Advantage enrollees. The bill was approved by voice vote, the last step prior to consideration by the full House.  

These three pieces of legislation are also included in the Senate’s bipartisan Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act of 2017 (S. 870) which was unanimously approved by the Senate Finance Committee prior to the August congressional recess. At this stage a CHRONIC Care Act companion bill has not been introduced in the House.