US HHS releases roadmap for rural telehealth

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the Rural Action Plan that focuses on evaluating and addressing challenges facing rural communities regarding healthcare. The action plan outlines the current rural healthcare landscape, particularly the unique challenges that rural residents and communities face in accessing and financing healthcare. The plan laid out a four-point strategy, including leveraging technology and innovation to deliver quality telehealth to rural regions. The plan notes that the Trump Administration’s fiscal year 2021 budget would require the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to value telehealth services separately from similar services that are provided in person, in hope of broadening beneficiary access to Medicare telehealth services. It also aligns with the budget’s proposal to allow rural health centres and qualified health providers to be distant site providers for Medicare telehealth services to increase access to Medicare telehealth services for Indian Health Services and Tribal Centres.