US senators urge leaders to make telehealth permanently available
A bipartisan group of US senators issued a letter to its leaders, Mitch McConnell and Charles Schumer, urging them to allow the provision of telehealth services to be made permanent. In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the congress passed the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 and the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act, enabling Medicare beneficiaries to access telehealth services during the pandemic.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, telehealth has become critical for many patients by enabling them to receive the care they need while reducing the risk of exposure to the Coronavirus. The senators stated in the letter that expanding Medicare coverage of telehealth services on a permanent basis would ensure that telehealth remains to be an option for all Medicare beneficiaries after the public health emergency ends. By doing so, it would provide assurance to patients who have benefited from and rely on the availability of telehealth that their care would not be interrupted even after the pandemic. The senators also called on the federal government to collect and analyse data on the impact of telehealth, namely, its utilisation, quality, health outcomes, and costs.