To ensure telehealth provisions lifted during the COVID-19 pandemic become permanent, U.S. Reps. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., and Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., are focusing on broadband access and Medicare reimbursement initiatives, according to NextGov.
1. The lawmakers said that HIPAA relaxations enacted during the public health emergency, including allowing telehealth visits over platforms such as Zoom and FaceTime, should be made permanent to accommodate widespread access.
2. In June, Ms. Kelly introduced a bill requiring CMS to launch an evaluation of telehealth usage during the pandemic within a year after the public health emergency ends. She said the purpose of the bill, which was incorporated into the Health, Economic, Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools Act, is so that Congress and CMS can establish “data-driven, long-term teleheath policies that actually work.”
3. Ms. Eshoo is doubling down on broadband efforts through the introduction of the Healthcare Broadband Expansion During COVID-19 Act, which expands the FCC’s Rural Health Care Program. The bill was included in the House’s stimulus bill and would subsidize healthcare providers’ broadband expenses.