Two U.S. lawmakers are pushing to broaden Medicare telehealth flexibilities adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic by two years.
The bipartisan “Telehealth Extension and Evaluation Act” was introduced Feb. 7 by Tens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Todd Young (R-IN). It would allow the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to extend Medicare payments for a broad range of telehealth services.
A study also would be commissioned to investigate the impact of the extended telehealth flexibilities to better inform Congress on whether to make them permanent.
Telehealth flexibilities, first announced in March 2020, have been critical to reducing obstacles to care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The waivers allow healthcare providers to be paid for a wider range of telehealth services for beneficiaries, and permit nursing home beneficiaries to receive telehealth services.
Both CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Beccerra have expressed support for permanently adopting those expansions.
“As Congress evaluates which changes to make permanent, many of these flexibilities are set to expire,” Young said in a statement. “We should act now to ensure seniors continue to benefit from these important remote health care services.”