Telehealth bill urges CMS to remove roadblocks, expand telemedicine in Medicare

After a bill to expand telehealth in Medicare first introduced in 2016 made little headway on Capitol Hill, determined legislators are seeking a new way in, by introducing several telemedicine bills aimed at different areas of Medicare, with a goal to get at least one passed.

The Evidence-Based Telehealth Expansion Act of 2017 was revealed in a press release where Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA), who introduced the bill along with Congressman Bill Johnson (R-OH), explained that “This legislation helps ensure that we’re integrating telehealth into the healthcare system in a cost-effective and patient-centered way.” Congressman Johnson went on to note that “This legislation would expand access to greatly needed telehealth services in Eastern and Southeastern Ohio. The bill Congresswoman Matsui and I have introduced aims to increase telehealth services through Medicare by removing some of the arbitrary barriers to access currently in place.”

The bill would allow HHS Secretary Tom Price to review existing services in the Medicare program to determine which are appropriate for telehealth, and waive existing restrictions of those services. The Secretary would ensure that the service delivered via telehealth would either reduce spending while maintaining quality or improve quality without increasing cost.

mHealth Intelligence reports that Washington D.C. insiders have shared concerns about the bill passing due to its size and complexity.

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