House bill would secure telehealth expansions after pandemic: 4 things to know 

A group of bipartisan lawmakers introduced a bill in the U.S. House July 16 that aims to protect telehealth expansions in Medicare that were made during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Protecting Access to Post-COVID-19 Telehealth Act is sponsored by Reps. Doris Matsui, D-Calif., Mike Thompson, D-Calif., Peter Welch, D-Vt., Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, and David Schweikert, R-Ariz. 

Four things to know: 

1. The legislation would eliminate most geographic and originating site restrictions on the use of telehealth in Medicare as well as establish the patient's home as an approved distant site so patients can receive virtual care at home and the provider is still reimbursed. 

2. To prevent any sudden loss of telehealth services, the bill would require CMS to continue reimbursement for telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries for 90 days after the public health emergency. 

3. The bill would allow HHS to expand telehealth in Medicare in all future emergencies and disasters by making the disaster waiver authority permanent. 

4. The legislation also would require a study of the use of telehealth during the pandemic, including its costs, uptake rates, health outcomes and racial and geographic disparities. 

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