Notable Telehealth Commentary
“During these unprecedented times, telemedicine has proven to be a lifeline for health care providers and patients,” CMS Administrator Verma wrote in a Health Affairs Blog. “The rapid adoption of telemedicine among providers and patients has shown that telehealth is here to stay. CMS remains committed to ensuring that the government supports innovation in telehealth that leverages modern technology to enhance patient experience, providing more accessible care.”
“Telehealth is popular and bipartisan because it reduces the cost of health care and improves quality and availability,” said Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) in a statement following new data from CMS highlighted in Health Affairs. “The skyrocketing use of telehealth during the pandemic shows that we cannot and should not go back to the Stone Ages of telehealth coverage. The changes that were enacted in the CARES Act to expand access to telehealth should be made permanent.”
Several members of Congress commented on the introduction of the bipartisan Protecting Access to Post-Covid-19 Telehealth Act:
“Telehealth is a proven and cost-effective way to get care out to patients, particularly during a crisis. Since the Spring, many patients who need routine care have been using telehealth to see their doctors without increasing the risk of spreading Coronavirus and many face an abrupt end to this practice after the crisis is over,” said Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA).
“This unprecedented pandemic has proven that telehealth not only works, but that it’s essential,” said Representative Peter Welch (D-VT). “These practical telehealth provisions have been successfully implemented and should be continued to ensure that everyone has access to quality healthcare no matter where they live or how mobile they are."
“Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, there was still some question as to whether telehealth could be an effective alternative to going to the doctor’s office. The answer is now clear: unequivocally, YES,” said Representative Bill Johnson (R-OH). “This bipartisan legislation will enable Medicare beneficiaries to continue using telehealth services when the current emergency declaration ends, and ensures that the enormous resources invested in making this technology work are not wasted.
“I am pleased to introduce this legislation with my colleagues on the Telehealth Caucus, continuing our work to advance solutions for how we can provide efficient and accessible care,” said Representative David Schweikert (R-AZ). “It is clear that telemedicine is part of the future of our healthcare system, and should be continued as an attainable tool post-pandemic. Telehealth services are allowing society to become safer, healthier, and more effective at delivering the care patients deserve.”
“Rising to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, providers nationwide are leaning in to telehealth to ensure patients have access to the care they need while safely social distancing. Especially in our medically underserved communities and for individuals highly vulnerable to the virus’ spread, leveraging telehealth is helping to advance our broader mission to equalize access to care,” said Representative Doris Matsui (D-CA).