Update on 2021 Telehealth Legislation

As a key advocate of telehealth, ATA (American Telemedicine Association) has recently shared their 2021 State and Federal Legislative Priorities. To learn more about ATA Policy Principles please visit https://www.americantelemed.org/policy/

The listed legislation focuses on ensuring patient choice and satisfaction, expanding reimbursement policies, and providing adequate care to the underserved, at-risk, and senior populations.

Top Federal priorities for 2021 include the Telehealth Modernization Act and The Protecting Access to Post-COVID Telehealth Act that aims to make permanent changes to 1834(m) that would, amongst other things, remove constraints of the originating and geographic site and allow for the types of providers to expand. The main  purpose of these measures is to ensure patient choice and satisfaction, expand reimbursement policies, and provide adequate care to underserved, at-risk, and senior populations by allowing them to choose telemedicine options and access the care they need at their homes.

Another component of the  federal legislation supported by the ATA includes The Expanded Telehealth Access Act that aims to allow for expansion of the scope of a practitioners eligibility for payment for telehealth services they provide within the Medicare program. The main outcome of this legislation is to expand reimbursement to virtual care in the post-COVID world and allow patients more freedom in choosing their providers without worrying about their coverage. The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 is targeted towards CMMI (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation)

 and focuses on encouraging the adoption and use of telehealth tools to enhance better outcomes and easier access to prenatal and postpartum care. Similarly, The Connected Moms Act aims to address coverage and reimbursement barriers of different RPM devices that can improve outcomes in prenatal and postpartum care. The Ensuring Telehealth Expansion Act aims to permanently extend the existing COVID relaxations of the CARES Act, allowing for patients to have telehealth visits from the comfort of their homes, and reimbursement rates to remain the same as the rates for in-person visits.

Some of the key focus areas of different state legislations include:

  • Permitting coverage for audio-only sessions
  • Allowing broader scope of providers to use telehealth
  • Allowing for new patient intake via telehealth
  • Reimbursement for telehealth beyond COVID (for both synchronous and asynchronous telehealth)
  • Allowing prescription issuing and renewals via telehealth

To learn more about ATA Policy Principles please visit: https://www.americantelemed.org/policy/
To learn more about 2021 ATA’s Federal Legislative Priorities visit: https://www.americantelemed.org/policy/federal-activity/
To learn more about 2021 ATA’s State Legislative Priorities visit: https://www.americantelemed.org/policy/state-activity/

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