Expansion of COVID-Era Telehealth Services

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On July 27th, 2022, the House implemented a bill to further expand Telehealth services. During the COVID-19 pandemic, most medical providers transitioned into online consultations with patients using Telehealth with the help of Medicare. In an effort to continue the policies, the introduction of this bill will support these services to provide accessible care through 2024.

New Regulations

With the passing of the bill, it calls for the eradication of geographical Telehealth service requirements, as well as the expansion of originating websites for the next two years. This will allow for the number of locations that people receive telemedicine to grow over time.

The bill pursues the idea of extending Medicare reimbursements for Telehealth services through 2024 provided by federally qualified employees from a wide variety of health centers.

Medical Freedom through Telehealth

Implementation of this legislation also requires a broader list of qualified medical professionals with varying specialties. This includes nurse practitioners, registered dietitians, psychologists, etc., to take part in virtual services. House Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said that, “the measure will expand freedom for patients by giving them more flexibility, more capability to use Telehealth services.”

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), a sponsor of the bill, mentioned that implementation of the new regulations will “allow those who’ve been afraid to go to the doctor, who haven’t been able to get in, to be able to consult with medical professionals as they need it.” Increased accessibility to medical services will allow for an increase in overall care for patients who cannot access medical care without the help of Medicare.

Continuation of Improvements to Telehealth

While some House Representatives were fully on-board with the new bill, others had varying opinions on the further improvement of Telehealth. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) supported the bill, but mentions how a permanent solution is crucial. “It is important that providers are given long-term certainty when taking care of their Medicare patients and are technologically capable of delivering the best care possible.”

References

Schnell, M. (2022, July 27). The Hill. House passes bill to expand COVID-era telehealth services. Retrieved September 24, 2022, from https://apple.news/AH3TnpQ7oRYKlm5mWt7xy_Q

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