Congress Considers Telehealth

Congress continues to weigh how telehealth should be treated after the public health emergency ends. In late April, the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee held a hearing on the path forward for telehealth. Witnesses included Sinsi Hernández-Cancio of the National Partnership for Women and Families, a PCC Executive Member, whose testimony called for the implementation of telehealth that reduces and does not exacerbate longstanding health inequities.
Several telehealth-related bills have been introduced in both the House and Senate. The CONNECT for Health Act of 2021 proposes permanently lifting or expanding geographic and site-based restrictions, permanently allowing for waivers during public health emergencies and requiring studies on the impact of telehealth on utilization and care. PCC and several of its members have signed on to the legislation, which has 56 co-sponsors and over 160 supporting organizations.
Other bills include the Permanency for Audio-Only Telehealth Act, re-introduced in the House, that would allow Medicare to permanently cover audio-only visits, and the Telehealth Improvement for Kids’ Essential Services, introduced in the Senate earlier this week, that looks to expand telehealth access for enrollees in Medicaid and CHIP. 

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