Congress Must Act to Ensure Patients and Providers Can Continue to Utilize the Benefits of Telehealth After the Public Health Emergency Ends
(OMAHA, Neb.) — NEWS: Encounter Telehealth joined 340 organizations in signing a letter urging Congressional leaders to make telehealth flexibilities catalyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic permanent. This multi-stakeholder letter is represented by leaders in a wide range of healthcare industries from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
At the start of the pandemic Congress quickly waived barriers, such as geographic and site restrictions, to allow for the expansion of telehealth. This enabled federal agencies to allow providers to deliver care virtually to their patients, and made telehealth available to all Medicare recipients. This revolutionized healthcare for residents of rural communities, skilled nursing facilities, and many more.
If Congress does not act before the COVID-19 public health emergency ends, the current flexibilities and allowances will disappear-leaving millions without access to telehealth. Therefore, 340 stakeholders have drafted and sent a letter to Congress explaining the urgent and necessary steps that need to be taken to ensure the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has the authority to make these telehealth allowances permanent.
These urgent actions include:
* Remove obsolete restrictions on the location of the patient to ensure that all patients can access care at home, and other appropriate locations
* Maintain and enhance HHS authority to determine appropriate providers and services for telehealth
* Ensure Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics can furnish telehealth services after the public health emergency
* Make permanent Health and Human Services (HHS) temporary waiver authority for future emergencies.
It is imperative that CMS have the authority to expand access to telehealth based on data gathered from experience gained through the pandemic. Telehealth fulfilled a vital role allowing patients to be screened, evaluated, and to continue services and management throughout the pandemic. Patients deserve broad access to healthcare regardless of geographical restrictions or national emergencies.
Encounter Telehealth, LLC has joined 340 organizations such as the American Psychological Association, American Telemedicine Association, and the American Nurses Association in signing this letter. Read the letter here: http://connectwithcare.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Post-COVID-Telehealth-Priorities-Group-Letter-FIN.pdf
Learn more about Encounter Telehealth, LLC at: https://www.encounter.health/
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