Health IT coalition: Include telehealth expansion in year-end Medicare legislation

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Health IT Now, a coalition of patient groups, provider organizations, employers, and payers supporting health IT, penned letters to lawmakers in the House and Senate urging they keep telehealth a focus in year-end Medicare legislation.

In his letter to Senate leaders Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Health IT Now Executive Director Joel White advocates the Senate include provisions of the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic Care Act of 2017.

In a separate letter to House leaders Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Nancy Pelosi, D- Calif., Mr. White writes representatives should value telehealth policies in the Increasing Telehealth Access in Medicare Act, as well as the Furthering Access to Stroke Telemedicine Act of 2017 and the unnamed bill proposing increased access to home dialysis, H.R. 3164.

These provisions would allow Medicare Advantage plans to offer telehealth services or improve access to home dialysis therapy.

"Medicare lags behind the majority of other health payers – including Medicaid, the private sector, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program – in covering and reimbursing for telehealth enabled services," both letters read. "Including these provisions in year-end Medicare legislation will allow healthcare providers to more effectively deliver care when and where patients need it."

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