Congress Considers Telehealth Permanency | Heart Rhythm Society

Congress Considers Telehealth Permanency

On November 14th, the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health Care held a hearing titled "Ensuring Medicare Beneficiary Access: A Path to Telehealth Permanency." The hearing focused on making permanent the telehealth flexibilities available during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE).

Legislative Updates

Witnesses and committee members agreed upon the importance of maintaining telehealth as an option for accessing care. Discussion noted that the body of evidence coming out of the COVID-19 PHE does not show that increased telehealth use is associated with significant increases in spending, nor does it compromise quality of care. 

Although there was agreement around the need to eliminate geographic and originating site restrictions, there was disagreement around whether audio-only coverage should be preserved and about whether there should be telehealth payment parity with the in-person version of the same service. This hearing follows up on a package advanced by the Committee earlier in the month which includes a provision to require CMS to regularly update information on licensure requirements for furnishing telehealth services under the Medicare and Medicaid programs, including regular updates on guidance to clarify interstate licensure compacts.