A look back on federal telehealth moves: 3 things to know

In 2017, 62 legislative bills in 34 states and Washington D.C., were passed and federal bills, which have typically been stalled in committees, have also made advancements through the House and Senate, according to the Center for Connected Health Policy.

Major events from 2017 — such as the official declaration of the opioid public health emergency, the rollback of net neutrality regulations and the Office of the Inspector General's plans to audit Medicaid telehealth payments — have shaped the telehealth regulatory landscape. The new year proves to hold exciting developments in telehealth, noted Mei Kwong, interim executive director and policy adviser for CCHP.

Here are three actions from 2017 that were made on the federal level affecting telehealth.

1. The Department of Veterans Affairs expressed interest in allowing telehealth to be used regardless of patient or provider location. This was included in bills like the VETS Act (H.R. 2123), which was received by the Senate Nov. 8, and the Community Care and Access Act, which was recently introduced in the Senate.

2. The Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic Care Act (S. 870) passed in the Senate in September. The bill seeks to expand eligible originating sites in Medicare and provide ACOs more flexibility to use telehealth.

3. There have been a number of federally-supported efforts to explore ways of using telehealth to combat the opioid epidemic.

More articles on telehealth:

US coalition to work with FCC on increasing rural broadband access

1st public telemedicine clinic opens in Alaska: 3 things to know

50 states, not quite 50 updated telehealth laws: 5 things to know

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