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340 organisations have signed a letter requesting Congressional leaders make telehealth flexibilities which have been created during the Covid-19 pandemic permanent.

At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Congress quickly waived statutory barriers to allow expanded access to telehealth, however, if Congress does not act before the Covid-19 public health emergency expires, then these current flexibilities will disappear.

The key immediate actions stakeholders have requested within this letter includes:

  • Remove obsolete restrictions on the location of the patient.
  • Maintain and enhance Health and Human Services (HHS) authority to determine appropriate providers and services for telehealth.
  • Ensure federally qualified health centres and rural health clinics can furnish telehealth services after the public health emergency.
  • Make permanent HHS temporary waiver authority during emergencies.

Scott Whitaker, president and CEO, Advamed, commented: “Too many patients are still going without care that is absolutely vital to their health and putting essential medical procedures on hold due to the pandemic or lack of access to care.

“Making recently expanded telehealth access permanent will improve patients’ ability to get care outside of doctors’ offices and other traditional healthcare settings and save and improve countless lives.”

Jennifer Covich Bordenick, CEO, eHealth Initiative, added: “The pandemic provided us with an opportunity to see the benefits of broad telehealth adoption. Virtual care doesn’t just support Covid-19 care, it increases access to communities and consumers for whom traditional office visits don’t always work. Hundreds of organisations want Congress to make these changes permanent because they make sense clinically and financially for both providers and patients.”

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