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Telehealth Bills abound in Washington. What do you want in a telehealth bill?


The Advancing Connectivity During the Coronavirus to Ensure Support for Seniors (ACCESS) Act targets telehealth expansion in nursing facilities, which have been hard hit by COVID-19.

The bill would set aside $50 million for the Health and Human Services Department’s Telehealth Resource Center to expand Medicare and Medicaid coverage of telehealth services in nursing facilities. It would also create a grant program for nursing homes to create virtual visit services during the pandemic and require the HHS Secretary to provide guidance on virtual care expansion.

The Safe Testing at Residence Telehealth (START) Act of 2021, which would mandate Medicare coverage for virtual care COVID-19 tests approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. The tests would be conducted at home with a telehealth consult and would either confirm or discount a diagnosis of COVID-19 or a similar respiratory infection.

Finally, there’s the Ensuring Telehealth Expansion Act, which was re-introduced.

bill targets several provisions of last year’s CARES Act, extend the following through the end of 2025:

- Exemption for telehealth services (regarding Health Savings Accounts);

- Increasing Medicare telehealth flexibilities during the emergency period;

- Enhancing Medicare telehealth services for Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics during the emergency period;

- Temporary waiver of requirement for face-to-face visits between home dialysis patients and physicians;

- Use of telehealth to conduct a face-to-face encounter prior to recertification of eligibility for hospice care during the emergency period; and

- Encouraging the use of telecommunications systems for home health services furnished during the emergency period.


Do these work for you? What would you like to see?

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