07.03.20

Georgia Senators Push for Expanded Telehealth Services

Urge HHS and CMS to Provide Plan on Permanent Changes to Medicare Telehealth Rules

ATLANTA, GA – U.S. Senators David Perdue (R-GA) and Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) are calling on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide Congress with a written plan and timeline about any potential changes to Medicare rules governing telehealth.

Through the coronavirus relief package, Congress provided HHS with the authority to waive telehealth requirements for the length of the COVID-19 public health crisis. This has made it possible for patients to continue to receive care without exposing themselves or providers to the risk of COVID-19, and for providers to keep helping patients. Additionally, telehealth has provided a source of financial stability as providers had to delay non-emergency procedures. However, patients have expressed concern that Medicare’s temporary changes to telehealth rules will be rolled back without much notice. 

“We appreciate your recognition that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more patients and providers see the value of telehealth. We believe telehealth is an important tool that enhances patient care and can provide efficiency in health care delivery,” wrote the senators to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “While telehealth may not be able to replace all in-person care, we believe it should continue to be an option to meet individual care needs."

“We therefore ask you to continue working with Congress to provide transparency and clarity for your plans for the future of telehealth.”

The senators closed by writing: “Lastly, we encourage the Administration to consider how permanent changes to telehealth policy can be part of broader movement, including a shift toward value-based care. We look forward to your response and urge you to continue working with Congress to expand access to telehealth during the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and after we put the pandemic behind us.”

Read the full letter, signed by 38 U.S. Senators including Perdue and Loeffler, here.

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