On Nov. 5, U.S. Senators Steve Daines, Tina Smith, Jerry Moran and Jacky Rosen introduced the Expanded Telehealth Access Act (S. 3193). The bipartisan bill, endorsed by HIMSS and PCHAlliance, would permanently expand the list of health care providers eligible to provide telehealth services under Medicare.
“HIMSS would like to thank Senators Daines, Smith, Moran, and Rosen for introducing the bipartisan, bicameral Expanded Telehealth Access Act,” said HIMSS President & CEO Hal Wolf. “One critical takeaway from the COVID-19 pandemic is that access to vital telehealth services is no longer just an add-on to care delivery and health options, but a critical strategic necessity. This important bill would broaden the list of eligible Medicare providers and ensure that beneficiaries and healthcare providers alike have a greater choice to utilize safe, high-quality care delivered through telehealth.”
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During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have waived requirements that specify the types of practitioners that may furnish Medicare telehealth services, but that waiver authority will expire when the PHE ends.
The Expanded Telehealth Access Act would make this temporary PHE change permanent. The bill would expand the scope of practitioners eligible for payment for telehealth services under Medicare to include audiologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech language pathologists and other additional healthcare providers who participate in Medicare as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
The Expanded Telehealth Access Act is the Senate companion to H.R. 2168, which was introduced in the House in March 2021 by Representatives Mikie Sherrill and Dave McKinley.
The HIMSS policy team works closely with the U.S. Congress, federal decision makers, state legislatures and governments, and other organizations to recommend policy, and legislative and regulatory solutions to improve health through information and technology.