On July 27, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed, by a 416-12 vote, the bipartisan Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act of 2021 (H.R.4040), which would extend telehealth policies implemented during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) for two years, through 2024. GNYHA sent the attached statement of support to the New York Congressional delegation. Every New York House member voted to pass the bill.
The bill would allow the two-year continuation of the following provisions:
- The Department of Health and Human Services would continue to waive the originating site and geographical limitations beyond the PHE period specified in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
- The list of providers qualified to provide telehealth services would be expanded to include physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse-midwifes, clinical social workers, clinical psychologists, registered dieticians, and nutrition professionals
- Medicare reimbursement of telehealth services to federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics would be extended
- Medicare in-person requirements for telemental health service would be delayed for six months
- Audio-only telehealth services would be allowed
- Access to telehealth services for recertification of hospice care eligibility during the PHE would be expanded
GNYHA believes that the continued expansion of proven telehealth services will improve vital health care access, specifically for high-risk and vulnerable patients, while reducing costs on many overburdened hospitals and health care systems. The previous expansion of Medicare services under the CARES Act has shown that our hospitals are successfully using a wider breadth of telehealth services—including audio-only services and expansion of reimbursable providers and service availability regardless of patient geography—to offer quality patient care to more patients while reducing costs.