2-Year Telehealth Extension Included in End of Year Spending Package
Vote Expected by End of Week

Dear CTeL Members,

This morning, Congressional leadership released text of the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA). This legislation includes more than $1.7 trillion in discretionary resources to fund various aspects of our federal government, including a 2-year extension of the telehealth waivers we have benefited from during the federal public health emergency.

The language extends pandemic-related Medicare telehealth flexiblities for two years, through December 31, 2024.

This includes:

·         Continuing to waive geographic and originating site restrictions
·         Expanding list of eligible practitioners able to furnish telehealth services
·         Removing facility fees for patients recieving telemedicine services in their homes
·         Delaying the in-person visit requirement before a patient may be eligible for telemental health services
·         Allowing for the continued use of audio-only telehealth services
·  Allowing first dollar coverage for telehealth services for patients with high deductible health plans coupled with a health savings account

It is important to note that without action from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the ability to prescribe controlled substances via telemedicine will expire upon the termination of the Federal Public Health Emergency. However, the DEA shared at CTeL’s December Summit that the agency is close to finalizing rules on Special Telemedicine Registration, which should be released in the coming months for public comment.

The FY23 CAA also includes a provision, Section 4151, to allow Americans with High Deductible Health Plans coupled with Health Savings Accounts to utilize first dollar coverage for telehealth services without first having to reach their minimum deductible. This flexiblity was set to expire on December 31, 2022.

The FY23 CAA will receive a vote in Congress this week and is expected to pass both chambers.
Read CTeL Summary HERE
Read Bill Text HERE
Summary of Telehealth Provisions Included in FY23 CAA:

Sec. 4113 – Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19

(a) Removing Geographic Requirements and Expanding Originating Sites for Telehealth through December 31, 2024. This will continue to allow all Medicare beneficiaries, regardless of geographic location, to be able to utilize telehealth services. Medicare beneficiaries will also be able to continue to utilize telehealth services in the comforts of their home.

(b) Expanding Practitioners Eligible to Furnish Telehealth Services through December 31, 2024. This provision will continue to allow physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech language pathologists to furnish telehealth services to Medicare beneficiaries.

(c) Extending Telehealth Services for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) through December 31, 2024.

(d) Delaying the In-Person Requirements Under Medicare for Mental Health Services Furnished Through Telehealth and Tele-Communications Technology through January 1, 2025. FQHC and RHCs will also be able to furnish telehealth services for mental health patients without an in-person requirement through January 1, 2023.

(e) Allowing for the Furnishing of Audio-Only Telehealth Services for Medicare Beneficiaries through December 31, 2024.

(f) Allowing for the Use of Telehealth to Conduct Face-to-Face Encounters Prior to Recertification of Eligibility for Hospice Care through December 31, 2024.

(g) Requiring the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to Conduct a Study on Telehealth and Medicare Program Integrity by October 1, 2024.

Sec. 4151 Extension of Safe Harbor for Absence of Deductible for Telehealth.

(a) Allowing Americans with High Deductible Health Plans Coupled with Health Savings Accounts to Utilize First Dollar Coverage for Telehealth Services without first having to Reach their Minimum Deductibles.