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Phillips Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Expand and Strengthen Telehealth Services

The complications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic reveal urgent need for modern remote health access

 – Today, Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) and Steve Chabot (R-OH) announced the introduction of the bipartisan Telehealth Coverage and Payment Parity Act (H.R. 4480) aimed at improving Americans’ access to health care whenever and wherever they need it. The bipartisan legislation pushes for permanent coverage and payment parity for telehealth services at the federal level.

With the country still grappling with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, safe access to medical providers – especially for the sick and vulnerable – is more important now than it ever has been. Meaningful policy change is necessary to support the expansion of telehealth services to meet the demand for remote care. 

The bill will ensure the country continues telehealth payment parity past the pandemic, increasing Americans access to care. The bill will require payers to cover the same telehealth services as Medicare, establish parity between in-person and telehealth covered services, and eliminate burdensome and unnecessary regulations around location for providers.

“It’s time to build a 21st century health care system that utilizes new technology developed throughout the pandemic to keep people well,” said Rep. Phillips. “For many conditions, there is simply no reason for healthcare to be tied to brick-and-mortar institutions. Telehealth has allowed us to effectively deliver care during the COVID-19 pandemic, but some of the flexibilities put in place to ensure Americans have access to care will be reversed when the public health emergency expires unless Congress acts to preserve them. I’m on a mission to make our progress permanent.”

“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the American people are discovering new ways to address issues we face in our daily lives,” said Rep. Chabot. “One of those innovations has been the widespread adoption of telehealth options by health care providers.  Telehealth gives patients an efficient and safe method to access routine medical services without unnecessary office visits.  The important, bipartisan legislation we’re introducing today will make sure that more Americans have access to the safety and convenience that telehealth provides.”

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, telehealth has seen a dramatic expansion as providers have looked for ways to offer services without increasing the risk of exposure to COVID-19. It’s necessary for Congress to act on making telehealth services efficient and accessible, even after the pandemic. The Telehealth Coverage and Payment Parity Act will:

  • Prohibit restrictions on which conditions can be managed remotely
  • Establish parity between telehealth and in-person visits
  • Guarantee all medically necessary benefits in ERISA plans are covered via telehealth
  • Remove location-based regulations for providers