Schatz Urging Colleagues to Give Telehealth a Boost in Lame Duck

October 25, 2022 by Dan McCue
Schatz Urging Colleagues to Give Telehealth a Boost in Lame Duck
(Center for Connected Health Policy photo)

WASHINGTON — Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, is urging his colleagues to take up legislation during the upcoming lame duck session of the 117th Congress to allow Medicare beneficiaries to more easily have virtual appointments with their doctors.

Schatz has led a bipartisan effort since 2000 to extend the Department of Health and Human Services’ pandemic rules that allow Medicare beneficiaries to utilize telehealth services and to expand the types of health care providers eligible to provide telehealth. 

These provisions will expire with the end of the health care emergency unless congressional leaders act to extend them or make them permanent.

The CONNECT for Health Act, introduced by Schatz and Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., would expand the use of telehealth and remote patient monitoring services in Medicare, aiming to advance the goals of cost savings and quality care.


It does so primarily by eliminating provisions in current statute (42 U.S.C. 1834[m]) that constrain telehealth reimbursement by imposing geographic limitations, originating site restrictions and limitations on covered codes.


“The [pandemic] has shown us that telehealth works, it’s popular, and it’s here to stay,” said Schatz in a written statement. “Our comprehensive bill makes it easier for more people to safely get the care they need no matter where they live.”

The CONNECT for Health Act Telehealth would:

  • Create a bridge program to help providers transition to the goals of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act and the merit-based Incentive Payment System through using telehealth and remote patient monitoring.
  • Allow telehealth and RPM to be used by qualifying participants in alternative payment models.
  • Permit the use of remote patient monitoring for certain patients with chronic conditions.
  • Allow, as originating sites, telestroke evaluation and management sites; Native American  health service facilities; and dialysis facilities for home dialysis patients in certain cases.
  • Permit further telehealth and RPM in community health centers and rural health clinics.
  • Allow telehealth and RPM to be basic benefits in Medicare Advantage, without most of  the aforementioned 1834(m) restrictions.
  • Clarify that the provision of telehealth or RPM technologies made under Medicare by a health care provider, for the purpose of furnishing these services shall not be considered “remuneration.”

In a recent interview with Politico, Schatz described telehealth as “the future of health care,” though he acknowledged “in-person visits will never be totally replaced.” 


“This is the one space in health care that is totally bipartisan and has zero downside,” he told Politico’s Ben Leonard.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.

A+
a-

In The News

Health

Voting

Health

Schools Struggle to Staff Up for Youth Mental Health Crisis

Mira Ugwuadu felt anxious and depressed when she returned to her high school in Cobb County, Georgia, last fall after... Read More

Mira Ugwuadu felt anxious and depressed when she returned to her high school in Cobb County, Georgia, last fall after months of remote learning, so she sought help. But her school counselor kept rescheduling their meetings because she had so many students to see. “I felt... Read More

November 17, 2022
by Dan McCue
FDA Conditionally Approves First Drug to Manage Acute Pancreatitis in Dogs

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration has conditionally approved Panoquell-CA1 for the management of clinical signs associated with acute... Read More

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration has conditionally approved Panoquell-CA1 for the management of clinical signs associated with acute onset of pancreatitis in dogs.  Panoquell-CA1 is an injectable drug intended for use while the dog is hospitalized for treatment of the disease.   Pancreatitis is a... Read More

November 15, 2022
by TWN Staff
Case Western Reserve University Awarded $7.3M for Eye Research

CLEVELAND — Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has been awarded a five-year, $7.3 million grant from the National... Read More

CLEVELAND — Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has been awarded a five-year, $7.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to identify new technology, methods and models to study the impact of inflammation and pain on the surface of the eye. “The cornea... Read More

November 15, 2022
by TWN Staff
Improved Eye Care Could Have Prevented Dementia Cases, Study Says

WASHINGTON — A study recently published in the journal JAMA Neurology suggests that as many as 100,000 U.S. dementia cases... Read More

WASHINGTON — A study recently published in the journal JAMA Neurology suggests that as many as 100,000 U.S. dementia cases could possibly have been prevented with improved eye care. The National Institute on Aging-funded research used data from a University of Michigan Health Retirement Study that... Read More

November 15, 2022
by Dan McCue
Google Pilot Testing Health Care Records Tool

Google is pilot testing the integration of its Google Care Studio search tool into the health records of two health... Read More

Google is pilot testing the integration of its Google Care Studio search tool into the health records of two health systems, one in Alabama and the other in Wisconsin. According to a recent JAMA Network Open study, poor access to the information clinicians need is leading... Read More

November 15, 2022
by Dan McCue
Report Finds Cancer Deaths Continue Downward Trend

WASHINGTON — The death rate from most cancers continued to decline over a four-year period extending from 2015 to 2019,... Read More

WASHINGTON — The death rate from most cancers continued to decline over a four-year period extending from 2015 to 2019, according to the latest Annual Report to the Nation on the State of Cancer from the National Institutes of Health. During roughly the same period, the... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top