ATA urges Congress to strike in-person visit from telehealth rule
The American Telemedicine Association is pressing Congress to repeal a rule in the 2022 Physician Fee Schedule that would require an in-person visit every six months in order for Medicare beneficiaries to receive telehealth services.
The ATA submitted detailed comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services last week and offered support for CMS’s efforts to make access to telehealth permanent after the COVID-19 public health emergency ends.
“As important as the Physician Fee Schedule is, we urge Congress to act before the majority of Medicare beneficiaries go off the telehealth cliff at the end of the public health emergency,” ATA CEO Ann Mond Johnson said in a statement.
Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act at the end of 2020, allowing access to telehealth regardless of a patient’s geographic or physical location. While the ATA applauded the measure for extending healthcare to millions during the pandemic, it urged CMS to make tweaks to the next year’s payment schedule. It wants Congress to extend access to remote patient monitoring services, permanently allow direct supervision via telehealth and support continued integration of telehealth and digital health tools into the Merit-based Incentive Payment System and Advanced Alternative Payment Models.
The association said it would continue to work with Congress to provide CMS with the flexibility it needs to ensure access to clinically appropriate care.