35 senators ask HHS, CMS to release timeline for permanent telehealth regulations

Thirty-five senators signed a July 2 letter to HHS and CMS, urging the agencies to release details about its plans for telehealth since regulations were lifted during the coronavirus pandemic.

"…We are hearing from patients and providers who are concerned about when Medicare's temporary changes to telehealth rules will be rolled back and whether they will receive any advance notice," the letter states. "Patients are anxious about when private payers will change rates for telehealth services and if they will decide to rescind telehealth coverage all together."

To bring transparency and clarity to the situation, the senators request CMS and HHS do the following:

1. Offer a written plan and timeline for establishing permanent administrative changes for telehealth made to Medicare, Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program rules.

2. Provide a timeline for if and when the agencies intend to end enforcement discretion by HHS' Office for Civil Rights that have allowed healthcare providers and patients to use non-HIPAA compliant platforms such as FaceTime for telehealth visits during the pandemic.

3. Confirm whether HHS and CMS plan to extend existing in-office Medicare reimbursement parity to telehealth services provided by Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics for the duration of the pandemic or whether it requires congressional action.

4. Create a list of permanent telehealth changes to Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP rules the agencies can act on within their own authority and those that require Congress to take action.

5. Issue guidance for private payers to provide advance notice to their enrollees on future changes to telehealth services coverage.

Click here to view the letter.

More articles on telehealth:
VA taps Philips for $100M expansion of critical care telehealth program 
Missouri to launch $50M broadband expansion program
Colorado permanently expands telehealth coverage, services 

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