Protecting Rural Telehealth Access Act

HR 5425 (McKinley R-WV) – Eliminates the geographic restriction for telehealth Medicare reimbursement and allows the home to be an eligible originating site. The bill would also add certain flexibilities for critical access hospitals, including allowing any qualified provider to deliver a behavioral health service and any other outpatient critical access hospital service to be delivered to an eligible telehealth individual.  See bill language for definition of a qualified provider.  The payment amount must be equal to 101 percent of the reasonable costs of the hospital in providing such services, unless the hospital makes an election to be paid based on alternative methodology described in statute.  The bill also requires FQHCs and RHCs be reimbursed for telehealth delivered services at a payment rate determined by the Secretary.  Finally, the bill clarifies that in Federal Regulation, the term ‘telecommunications system’ includes, in the case of furnishing specified telehealth services, a communications system that uses audio-only technology.  See bill language for definitions of eligible telehealth services and qualified providers.  (Status: 9/29/21 – Introduced)