Senators introduce bill to expand Medicare telehealth coverage

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A bipartisan bill meant to boost Medicare's coverage of telehealth services was introduced in the Senate last week.

The Telehealth Innovation and Improvement Act, proposed by Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Gary Peters (D-MI), would require the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to test the inclusion of telehealth services in Medicare reform models.

Medicare's current limited coverage of telehealth services sets a weak standard for the industry and discourages innovation, the senators said.

“The Telehealth Innovation and Improvement Act would allow Medicare to expand coverage of telehealth services and increase access for people living in rural America,” Gardner said in a press release. “It would also incentivize the healthcare industry to develop new technologies that could potentially reduce costs and improve patient health.”

The “commonsense” act would also “help expand access to care for Michigan seniors, lower healthcare costs and reduce costly emergency room visits, hospitalizations and readmissions,” Peters added.

The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance.