Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Call for Telehealth Funding in Relief Package

August 10, 2020 by Reece Nations
Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Call for Telehealth Funding in Relief Package

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of lawmakers is urging funding for the Federal Communications Commission’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program to be included in any upcoming COVID-19 relief legislation.

The FCC established the program in April 2020 to better provide health care support as the health crisis brought on by the novel coronavirus pandemic intensified. In the final week of April alone, nearly 1.7 million fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries received telehealth services, according to HealthAffairs.

The roughly 13,000 weekly Medicare beneficiaries who received telehealth services before the pandemic pales by comparison. Medicare telehealth services provided by the program include therapeutic activities, acute nursing facility care and virtual check-ups.

In a letter addressed to congressional leaders, Reps. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., and Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., noted the surge in demand for telehealth services from both patients and providers since the pandemic began. Spanberger introduced a bill in July with support from bipartisan co-sponsors that would make a supplemental appropriation of funds for the FCC’s telehealth program.



“Local providers in our districts report experiences that are in line with the national trend,” the text of the letter read. “In Central Virginia, for instance, one safety net hospital reported an average increase in telehealth visits of over 7,000% between March and June 2020. Avera Health, located in South Dakota, averaged 1,000 virtual visits per day through the month of April 2020, which represented a quick ramp up of their telehealth services.”

Spanberger’s bill would allocate an additional $200 million in funding for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program, equal to the amount initially approved by congress in the CARES Act. While 5,200 health care providers applied to engage in the telehealth program, the FCC could only afford to fund 500 of those applicants.


The lawmakers who joined Spanberger and Johnson in signing the letter were: Reps. Bryan Fitzpatrick, R-Pa.; T.J. Cox, D-Calif.; James Baird, R-Ind.; Peter Welch, D-Vt.; Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz.; Doris Matsui, D-Calif.; Ami Bera, D-Calif.; Sanford Bishop, D-Ga.; Cindy Axne, D-Iowa; Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas; Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y.; Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio; David Trone, D-Md.; Katie Porter, D-Calif.; Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J.; and David Cicilline, D-R.I.

“Additionally, the benefits of telehealth, especially in long-term care facilities, are clear,” the lawmakers’ letter continued. “Telehealth reduces the spread of infection from outside asymptomatic carriers, reduces hospitalizations when the physician is unable to complete a face-to-face visit, and improves access to specialist visits without exposing the patient to infection.” 

A+
a-

In The News

Health

Voting

Health

August 12, 2022
by Dan McCue
What the Latest COVID Guidance Means for Back to School

WASHINGTON — A hit in the early 1970s featured children in its final refrain singing, “no more pencils, no more... Read More

WASHINGTON — A hit in the early 1970s featured children in its final refrain singing, “no more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks.” If the song were updated this year, Alice Cooper might be tempted to have them throw in “no more remote... Read More

Polio Detected in NYC's Sewage, Suggesting Virus Circulating

NEW YORK (AP) — The polio virus has been found in New York City’s wastewater in another sign that the... Read More

NEW YORK (AP) — The polio virus has been found in New York City’s wastewater in another sign that the disease, which hadn’t been seen in the U.S. in a decade, is quietly spreading among unvaccinated people, health officials said Friday. The presence of the poliovirus... Read More

Dems Near Congressional Passage of Climate, Health Package

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats pushed their flagship climate change and health care bill toward House passage Friday, placing President Joe Biden on... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats pushed their flagship climate change and health care bill toward House passage Friday, placing President Joe Biden on the brink of a back-from-the-dead triumph on his leading domestic goals that could energize his party going into November’s elections. Democrats were poised to muscle the measure through the... Read More

August 11, 2022
by Dan McCue
CDC Streamlines COVID Guidelines, Dropping Quarantine, Other Recommendations

ATLANTA — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed its COVID-19 guidelines Thursday, dropping its recommendation that Americans quarantine... Read More

ATLANTA — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed its COVID-19 guidelines Thursday, dropping its recommendation that Americans quarantine themselves if they come into close contact with an infected person. Instead it is urging those who know they’ve been exposed to COVID-19 but not sick... Read More

August 11, 2022
by Tom Ramstack
White House Revises Monkeypox Vaccine Strategy

WASHINGTON — The White House is rearranging its monkeypox response with a strategy for stretching the supply of vaccines and... Read More

WASHINGTON — The White House is rearranging its monkeypox response with a strategy for stretching the supply of vaccines and with new leadership on its task force. The new strategy announced Tuesday calls for two injections of the vaccine but at only one-fifth the normal potency... Read More

August 11, 2022
by Alexa Hornbeck
Some in Drug Industry Fear Inflation Reduction Act Could Hinder Drug Innovation

WASHINGTON — The Senate passed the roughly $740 billion tax, climate and health care package known as the Inflation Reduction... Read More

WASHINGTON — The Senate passed the roughly $740 billion tax, climate and health care package known as the Inflation Reduction Act on Aug. 7, by a vote of 51-50. The massive package includes provisions to reduce drug costs for patients and providers by letting Medicare negotiate... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top