Leading lawmakers seek to make telemedicine flexibility permanent


A powerful House chairman introduced a bill on Thursday that would permanently remove restrictions on medical insurance patients’ access to telemedicine services, but would make other telemedicine insurance policies only temporary.

The bill was initiated by Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), chairman of the fundraising committee, and will permanently remove a restriction that patients must live in a rural area and accept Telemedicine Services provided by participating medical institutions covered by Medicare. Senior Republican Representative Devin Nunes (California) of the group’s health subcommittee is a co-sponsor.

Government temporarily give up These restrictions during the pandemic enabled medical insurance patients from all over the country to receive telemedicine services from their homes across the country. Without the intervention of Congress, this benefit would end when the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration takes effect.

Legislators and advocates from both parties push Before that, Congress permanently lifted the coverage limit, calling it an obsolete care barrier.

Doggett said in a press release: “The emergency exemption allows the use of telemedicine to expand, changing healthcare services-helping patients to contact their doctors in a timely, easy and safe manner.” “As the pandemic enters an unpredictable In the new phase, emergency waivers may expire, and patients and providers should not face the cliff of uncertainty.”

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The public health emergency is scheduled to end in mid-January, but due to COVID-19, it may be extended for at least another 90 days Keep hitting America

Congress staff and lobbyists hope that Congress will take action before the emergency is over so that medical insurance participants will not lose the telemedicine services they have been accustomed to since last year.

Although Congress is advancing other healthcare legislation and President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda, expanding the use of telemedicine is not the top priority for legislators this year. Lower-priority items are usually resolved at the last minute, so Doggett’s telemedicine measures may not be resolved until next year, perhaps as soon as February when Congress processes its annual spending bill.

“I would be surprised if [public health emergency] Rep. Doris Matsui (California) legislative director Christina McCauley (Christina McCauley) said that she was involved in the formulation of a number of telemedicine bills.

The removal of geographic and site restrictions is not expected to cause disputes. Another bill has 61 sponsors in the Senate-enough to circumvent the bill and pass it. The list of sponsors includes two of the top three Republican leaders in the House of Lords, Sens. John Thune (SD) and John Barrasso (Wyo.), who is a doctor.

Legislators have introduced dozens of bills in the past few years to expand telemedicine access, which shows broad support for action on this issue. However, the question of whether these measures should permanently cover other telemedicine services or only cover a few years when collecting data differs.

The Doggett Act will temporarily extend other emergency authorizations for two years after a public health emergency, allowing telemedicine to cover a wider range of health care providers, including occupational therapists and speech pathologists.

The legislation will also temporarily allow key access hospitals to continue to provide outpatient behavioral treatment services through telemedicine, and allow the payment of pure audio services two years after a public health emergency occurs.

Some legislators and advocates want to make these changes Everlasting Immediately, but the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee recommends a temporary extension so that policymakers can evaluate the use and efficacy of telemedicine.

During the pandemic, the use of telemedicine in medical insurance increased significantly, from 840,000 in 2019 to 53 million in 2020, according to data The Ministry of Health and Human Services released last week. Approximately 92% of patients received services at home, which was not covered before the pandemic.About one-third of the visits are for Behavioral health.

The legislation will also restrict some telemedicine services to combat potential fraud, including requiring in-person appointments within six months of ordering high-cost durable medical equipment or major clinical laboratory tests. Legislators pointed out that the Department of Justice filed charges against telemedicine executives and doctors in 2019 for ordering unnecessary back, shoulder and knee braces and cancer genetic testing.



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