After passing in both the House and Senate, the President signed into law HR 748, the Coronavirus Aid Relief, and Economic Security Act or “CARES Act”.  The $2 trillion relief package not only provides economic relief but also funding for health care.  Among the provisions include funding for hospitals, research, treatment and the Strategic National Stockpile for needed equipment such as masks and ventilators.  The Indian Health Service will receive $1 billion.

There are some telehealth items in the CARES Act, one of the most significant is allowing Federally Qualified Heath Centers (FQHCs) and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) in this emergency period to be a distant site provider for a telehealth service covered by Medicare. However, these services will be paid an amount calculated from the fee-for-service schedule, not the prospective payment system.

Other telehealth items in the bill include significant changes to the telehealth network grant program and the telehealth resource centers.  CCHP will be doing a more detailed analysis of the telehealth elements of the bill in our next regular In Focus newsletter scheduled for Tuesday, March 31, as well as updating relevant materials with this new development.

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