U.S. lawmakers reintroduce House bill safeguarding access to telehealth

by Larry Emmott on February 1, 2021

in Corona Pandemic,Health Care Politics,Telemedicine

I am a huge fan of the concept of telemedicine and teledentistry. I believe it has the potential to reduce costs and improve care to a remarkable degree. This is critical to solving the “Healthcare Crisis”.

From  Healthcare IT News:

WHY IT MATTERS

The bill, which was first introduced in July 2020, would help safeguard access to virtual care after COVID-19 via four main provisions. According to a press statement from Thompson’s office, it would:

  • Eliminate most geographic and originating site restrictions on the use of telehealth in Medicare and establishing the patient’s home as an eligible distant site.
  • Authorize the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service to continue reimbursement for telehealth for 90 days beyond the end of the public health emergency.
  • Make permanent the disaster waiver authority, enabling Health and Human Service to expand telehealth in Medicare during all future emergencies and disasters.
  • Require a study on the use of telehealth during COVID, including its costs, uptake rates, measurable health outcomes, and racial and geographic disparities.

The bill avoids some of the thornier issues around telehealth, such as coverage parity or interstate licensing issues, while making permanent broadly popular policies such as eliminating geographic and originating site restrictions.

Source: U.S. lawmakers reintroduce House bill safeguarding access to telehealth | Healthcare IT News

The primary barriers to the acceptance of telemedicine are not technological but political. Government, especially regulatory agencies, professional associations (including the ADA) hospitals, insurance companies and others all have a vested interest in the status quo and an incentive to block the acceptance of robust telemedicine.

One of the few good things to come from the Covid 19 pandemic is the use and acceptance of telemedicine.

This is why IMHO telehealth has such tremendous potential.

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