We’ve all seen the stories of the marked increase in telehealth utilization over the last year or so in response to the ongoing public health emergency (PHE) related to the COVID-19 pandemic. And, while there has been a lot of flexibility afforded to providers to promote the use of telehealth during the PHE, it’s unclear what the policy landscape will look like for telehealth post–PHE.
In welcome news, several states have taken up legislation to permanently enact key telehealth reforms such as expanding reimbursement and provider types eligible to bill under Medicaid, modifying originating–site requirements and streamlining licensing requirements. Congress has also reintroduced the Telehealth Modernization Act which would do away with the long overdue restrictions on use of telehealth in Medicare under §1834(m) of the Social Security Act. This bill has been introduced in several previous Congresses and never seems to quite make it out of committee but, hope springs eternal, right?
Nonetheless, the temporary nature of many of the existing telehealth reforms makes it challenging to predict what the future holds. I for one don’t want to see all the momentum that we’ve gained over the last year be for naught. In an ideal world, policymakers will come together to truly realize the value of telehealth and other digital tools to ensure there are incentives in place to support its continued use and that every American is able to reap the benefits.
To that end, URAC recently signed on to a stakeholder letter encouraging White House and Congressional leadership to leverage digital health innovations in addressing COVID-19.
Please click here to read the letter in its entirety.
Brittany McCullough, Manager, Health Policy and Government Programs.
Brittany McCullough, URAC’s Manager of Health Policy and Government Programs, tracks and analyzes legislation and regulations of importance to URAC stakeholders. She also helps manage URAC’s public policy external affairs portfolio and oversees compliance with government deemed programs. Most of her policy and research work has been related to the ACA, Medicaid managed care, Part D, telehealth and mental health parity. She holds a B.S. in Neuroscience and a Master of Health Administration.
Views, thoughts and opinions expressed in my articles belong solely to me, and not necessarily to my employer.