The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote this week on a bill that would allow Medicare to continue to offer telehealth services, which were originally permitted during the Covid-19 public health emergency, through Dec. 31, 2024.
The bill was co-authored by Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.).
The telehealth extension would take effect after the expiration of the emergency, which Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra extended for another 90 days on July 15.
The provisions covered by the bill would allow:
- Medicare patients to receive authorized telehealth services regardless of location.
- Federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics to continue providing telehealth services.
- Telehealth for mental health services.
- Audio-only telehealth services for professional consultations, office visits, and office psychiatry services.
- Hospice physicians or nurse practitioners to use emergency telehealth in lieu of the face-to-face recertification requirements for continued hospice care eligibility.
- Occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech-language pathologists, and audiologists to provide telehealth services.
Congresswoman Cheney released this statement when the bill was originally introduced last year.
“This bill will allow Americans to utilize telehealth services even after the emergency declaration has ended. COVID-19 presented unprecedented challenges, including the facilitation of a safe environment for our seniors to receive high quality health care. Fortunately, Congress was able to remove many of the barriers that prevented seniors from utilizing telehealth services from the comfort and safety of their homes. As a result, telehealth use among seniors has continued to rise and this legislation would continue this successful trend well after the pandemic is over by permanently cutting burdensome red tape, while allowing Medicare to adapt to the ever-changing innovation in medical technology.” -Rep. Liz