Boozman, Cotton Join Bipartisan Effort to Expand Telehealth Access and Make Current Virtual Care Flexibilities Permanent
Jun 15 2023
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) joined a bipartisan group of senators in introducing legislation to expand coverage of telehealth services through Medicare, permanently extend pandemic-era virtual care flexibilities, improve health outcomes and make it easier for patients to connect with their doctors.
The Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) for Health Act would make permanent the expanded telehealth services Congress approved in December 2022 that are set to expire in 2025.
“Telehealth provides opportunities for Arkansans to receive treatment from health care providers no matter where they live. Patients have had positive outcomes as a result of this technology and we must continue to utilize the potential it has to transform medical care. This legislation will ensure rural and underserved populations continue to have access to this critical tool to improve their health,” Boozman said.
“Eliminating certain restrictions for telehealth services allows Arkansans greater access to healthcare without traveling long distances. This bill will keep these services in place even after the public health emergency expires,” said Cotton.
The CONNECT for Health Act builds on the progress of the past seven years
to that has enhanced telehealth through law or adoption by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, including provisions to remove restrictions on telehealth services for mental health, stroke care and home dialysis.
This legislation will:
- Permanently remove all geographic restrictions on telehealth services and expand originating sites to include the home and other sites;
- Permanently allow health centers and rural health clinics to provide telehealth services;
- Allow more eligible health care professionals to utilize telehealth services;
- Remove unnecessary in-person visit requirements for tele-mental health services;
- Allow for the waiver of telehealth restrictions during public health emergencies; and
- Require more published data to learn more about how telehealth is being used, impacts of quality of care and can be improved to support patients and health care providers.
Bill text can be found here.