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We " Healthcare" sent a letter to Congress asking them to take up comprehensive telehealth reform. Today we cover the letter that you sent.

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Today in health, it, bunch of people send a letter to Congress about establishing a pathway for comprehensive telehealth reform. My name is bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system and creator of this week in health. It instead of channels dedicated to keeping health, it staff current and engaged. We want to thank our show sponsors who are investing and developing the next generation of health leaders. Gordian dynamics, Quill health Taos.

Site nuance, Canon medical, and current health. Check them out at this week. health.com/today. All right. Today's story. I love it. There's a letter that went out January 31st, 2022. To the honorable Charles Schumer, the honorable Mitch McConnell, the honorable Nancy Pelosi and the honorable Kevin McCarthy. These are the majority and minority leaders in the Senate and the house.

And the letter reads dear congressional leaders. Thank you for your leadership and expanding access to virtual care during the COVID-19 public health emergency. This access has been transformational Americans now expect that the future of our healthcare system includes telehealth

as a key way to access healthcare services, healthcare providers across the nation have made substantial investments in new technologies to safely treat patients during the pandemic. Now as we work to overcome the latest COVID 19 search providers and health systems are preparing to meet the healthcare demands of the future.

And need leadership from Congress in charting the path forward with respect to permanent comprehensive tele-health reform. And that's what this letter is about. It's about permanent comprehensive tele-health reform. Many of the tele-health flexibilities that have helped dramatically improve patient access to care and temporary and limited to the duration of COVID-19 public health emergency.

And impact both public health programs and private health coverage. While the Biden administration may elect to extend the COVID-19 public health emergency. The fact that the. P H E determination must be renewed every 90 days. And could end later this year has introduced significant uncertainty into all parts of the us healthcare system. As it stands today, providers must weigh the cost of investing in technological and clinical infrastructure required to maintain tele-health programs at scale against the possibility that Congress may ultimately decide.

Not to support permanently expanded telehealth coverage. That's uncertainty. Uncertainty is bad. Is essentially what this is about. , yes, the public health emergency will continue through the end of this year. It will likely go into next year. But the uncertainty of it going away is what they're trying to address here. To that end. We asked for your leadership in facilitating a pathway to comprehensive permanent tele-health reform. And it goes on authorize the continuation of all current telehealth waivers through December 31st, 2024. All right. So we are in February of 2022 that is asking for, to continue.

It is crucial for Congress to provide HHS with the authority and flexibility to continue to waive. These and other statutory requirements, such as in-person requirements. For tele mental health consultations.

And that is the biggest piece of the tele-health that's going on today is around mental health. All right. It's also crucial that this continuation be broader. Then CMS and capture important provisions, such as prescribing of controlled substances, via telemedicine that affect both federal programs and other healthcare as policy makers evaluate the evidence needed to support permanent policy. Alright. It goes on there's three of these points by the way.

Number two

require HHS complete all feasible evaluations related to telehealth by fall of 2023. And combined findings into a single overarching dashboard with recommendations to inform permanent. Telehealth legislation by Congress.

So the lack of tele-health data was once the challenge inhibiting policymaking, that is no longer the case. We have a plethora of information now because of the pandemic we have been doing telehealth for awhile, they have this information is so essentially what they're saying is. Pull it all together. Don't drag your feet, pull it all together, do the analysis and let's move forward with some policies that make sense.

Number three, take up permanent evidence-based tele-health legislation for implementation in 2024. Congress has the opportunity to bring the us healthcare system into the 21st century and the responsibility to ensure that innovation delivery models implemented to fight COVID-19 are used to effectively modernize us healthcare delivery.

Tele-health has a huge potential to expand access to high quality virtual care for all Americans. Following the 20 22 23 evaluation period, all committees. Of jurisdiction will have at their disposal. The necessary data to pursue evidence-based policymaking and take up comprehensive impermanent tele-health reform in a bipartisan manner.

A primary benefit of delayed policymaking will be an opportunity for Congress to consider legislation. Without making assumptions, not fully supported by the data and evidence, so forth and so on. Let's see, do they say anything else? Interesting. Virtual care is now fundamental. We know that patient satisfaction surveys and claims data that shows Hey, people like it.

And it closes with this. We believe the recommendations outlined above will provide significant relief to patients and providers concerned about Congress's intent and commitment to telehealth. After the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency, we look forward to working with you to provide certainty to our nation's healthcare providers, and more importantly, ensure communities across the country can continue to access care when and where they need it.

It's interesting. This is signed by everybody and, well, it feels like everybody let's see, who's signed it. , the American academy of everything, the American association of everything, the American cancer society, clinical neuros, , physiological society, college of cardiology, counseling association, nurse association.

, let's see hospital association or anything here. American hospital association is not in here, but, , American nurses, pharmacists, you name it. , Amwell, , Ascension. , Baptist. All scripts. Yeah. I mean, you get the picture. We're in the A's. This is a big list. , BJC healthcare at a St. Louis Centura health Cerner.

Children's hospital Philadelphia. , yeah. , you get the picture. We're on the seas. The big players have signed it. , Johns Hopkins is in here. , uPFC I'm just scrolling through this real quickly. I'm not. Picking any names out, , zoom video conferencing is on here, as you would imagine, they would be, , as, as Amwell as is, , the Zoc doc as is,

, Teladoc is in here as well. , what's my, so what on this. I think I'm for this, I'd have to think about it a little bit. You know, there's no such thing as a government funded, , initiatives, it's all taxpayer funded initiatives. So from a taxpayer perspective, do I think the investment in telehealth makes sense, especially.

, mental health and those kinds of programs. Absolutely. I do. , so, , from that perspective, I'm, I'm for this, , lifting it until 20, 24. I don't think it's going to make a dent , In the public coffers, if you will. So, , by all means let's extend it to 20, 24. Not, the worst thing in the world. Probably a really good thing. If I thought about it. , the feasibility study being done by 2023 seems to be enough time to me, you're going to give them two years to collect all this information, do the analysis.

I know the government moves slowly, but two years should be enough time to really make some. Determinations of what's going on and asking the government to take up bipartisan, legislation to move this forward so that we can have tele-health. As a cornerstone of our care delivery system, moving forward.

, also I think makes sense , what I love the fact that the market drives this and the demand from consumers drives this. , absolutely. , do I want this to be very specific in terms of the policies that come down,

Maybe not prescriptive, but descriptive of what we were looking for in tele-health long-term the integration. We're looking for, the flow of information. We're looking for the ease of use. We are looking for the reach into underserved communities that we were looking for. Yeah. I'd like to see all of that in the legislation.

, but that's probably a episode for another day when they actually take up this kinds of legislation.

So my take good move. Overall. I liked the letter. I liked the amount of support they got for this before sending it along. I got this letter from chime. I appreciate all the work that chime is doing and look forward to more of it. There you go. That's all for today. If you know someone that might benefit from our channel, please forward them a note. They can subscribe on our website this week out.com or wherever you listen to podcasts, apple, Google, overcast, Spotify, Stitcher.

You get the picture. We are everywhere. We want to thank our channel sponsors who are investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders, Gordian dynamics, Quill health towel, site nuance, Canon medical, and current 📍 health. Check them out at this week. health.com/today. Thanks for listening. That's all for now.

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