Dingell, Cheney Applaud House Passage of Bipartisan Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act
Washington, July 27, 2022
Today, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY) applaud the House passage of their Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act of 2021, by a vote of 416-12, which would extend through December 31, 2024 critical telehealth policies implemented during the pandemic to make it easier for seniors to access remote care and other emerging health care technologies.
“We saw telehealth services widely and successfully adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic, now we must ensure those services are here to stay,” said Rep. Dingell. “For seniors, traveling to a doctor’s office can be a prohibitive barrier to receiving the care they need, and we cannot allow people who have come to rely on telehealth throughout the pandemic to have that resource taken from them. This legislation brings us one step closer to permanently expanding telehealth services and allowing Americans to continue to access critical health care from the comfort of their home.”
"Because many of our citizens in Wyoming live hours and hundreds of miles away from their closest medical provider, we have long known how important it is for citizens to be able to take advantage of telehealth services in order to interact with their doctors and health care providers," said Rep. Cheney. "This legislation, which I have been proud to work on for over two years, will expand Telehealth capabilities by removing geographic requirements. It also expands originating sites so Medicare beneficiaries have better access to care, can obtain care from more practitioners, and can receive audio-only Telehealth. I’m pleased to have worked with Rep. Dingell and other colleagues on both sides of the aisle in advancing this legislation through the House and look forward to the Senate passing this bill as well so it can become law and allow more Americans to utilize Telehealth services.”
The Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act is endorsed by the American Medical Association.
“Increased Medicare-covered access to telehealth has been a lifeline to patients and physicians throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and the American Medical Association (AMA) is pleased by today’s bipartisan vote in the House," said Jack Resneck Jr., M.D., President of the American Medical Association. "The COVID-19 public health emergency made plain that care via telehealth should be available to all Medicare patients, especially with their own physicians, regardless of where they live or how they access these services. From continuity of care, broadened access to care, and removing geographic and originating-site restrictions, our hope is that the flexibilities afforded during the public health emergency will be made permanent. This legislation offers an important step in that direction by extending telehealth benefits to December 31, 2024. We urge the Senate to act on this bipartisan bill, and for the Congress to build on this success.”
Specifically, the Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act would extend the following provisions through December 31, 2024:
Removal of the originating site and geographical limitations that were temporarily waived in the CARES Act. Before this waiver went into effect, Medicare beneficiaries who wanted to utilize telehealth services could only do so at a designated “originating site” and only in the event of a physician shortage. This bill will also allow any physician who can currently bill for Medicare to be eligible for this waiver and will cover specified forms of telemedicine including “audio-only”.
Telehealth coverage at Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) and Rural Health Clinics (RHC): This will give rural providers the ability to serve patients remotely while being properly compensated for their work.
Removal of restrictions that limit health care providers’ ability to provide access to smart devices and innovative digital technology to their patients. Allowing Medicare providers to remotely monitor and track their patient’s health will improve quality of life while reducing costly trips to the emergency room.
Office of Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12)
116 Cannon HOB, Washington, D.C. 20515