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Bill to Continue Telehealth Flexibility for Medicare Advances

July 28, 2022

Legislation to continue federal regulatory flexibility that has helped expand access to telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic is moving ahead in Congress.

The U.S. House passed the Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID–19 Act with a 416-12 vote Wednesday. All members of Pennsylvania’s delegation voted in favor. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

The measure would extend for at least two years flexibilities under the federal government’s COVID-19 public health emergency declaration that have helped Medicare consumers better access telehealth services during the pandemic. Those include allowing:

  • Audio-only telehealth services for Medicare patients
  • Medicare patients to receive telehealth services regardless of their or the provider’s location
  • Behavioral health telehealth services
  • Federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics to provide telehealth

The COVID-19 public health emergency declaration was recently extended until mid-October. The legislation would continue the telehealth flexibility for Medicare for two years after the public health emergency ends or through the end of 2024, whichever comes first.

Preserving access to telehealth services is among HAP’s key priorities. HAP is also advocating for state legislation to permanently authorize and ensure payment for telehealth after the expiration of state-level regulatory waivers and flexibilities for health care.

For more information, contact John Myers, HAP’s vice president, federal advocacy.