Congress OKs telehealth measures in temporary funding bill

Early Friday morning Congress passed legislation to fund the government through March 23 and the bill  included a number of healthcare provisions affecting telehealth, according to a Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society blog post.

As part of the Budget Act, lawmakers included a two-year deal to raise the spending caps on defense discretionary and non-defense discretionary spending. This means Congress will have the resources to fund the military's needs, as well as the health needs of all Americans.

Included in the act were additional priority policies. In fact, the resolution was littered with several provisions from telehealth bills that groups have long advocated for, including portions of the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic Care Act of 2017.

That bill expands telehealth to patients with kidney failure or end stage renal disease, stroke patients and beneficiaries who receive care through ACOs and Medicare Advantage private health plans, beginning in 2020.

"Passage of the CHRONIC Care Act telehealth provisions marks an important step forward for connected care. Congress, HHS and the healthcare community have much more work to do to modernize Medicare to increase use of remote patient monitoring and set the stage for realizing the potential of the many innovative technologies coming down the pike," Samantha Burch, HIMSS' senior director of congressional affairs, wrote in an organization blog post.

More articles on telehealth:

AAFP to FCC: Rural telehealth should expand access to specialists
UPMC Susquehanna rolls out inpatient 'TeleEndocrine' program to regional hospitals
Jefferson Health, Mission Health partner with telehealth vendor to develop 10 remote care models

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