Phillips Introduces Bill To Improve Telehealth As Pandemic Threatens Americans’ Access To Care
Today, Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) and Steve Chabot (R-OH) announced they have introduced the bipartisan Telehealth Coverage and Payment Parity Act (H.R. 8308) 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 grappling with the implications 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. Yet much of the innovation in telehealth demonstrated these past months will reverse when the pandemic is over. H.R. 8308 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 technology and prevention to keep people well,” said Rep. Phillips. “For many conditions, there is no 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 medicine has seen a dramatic expansion as providers have looked for ways to offer services without spreading the Coronavirus. The Telehealth Coverage and Payment Parity Act will: