Take Action: Ask your members of Congress to support broader access to telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries by cosponsoring the CONNECT for Health Act of 2017 (H.R. 2556/S. 1016) and the Medicare Telehealth Parity Act of 2017 (H.R. 2550).
The CONNECT for Health Act would:
- lift restrictions on the use of telehealth in Accountable Care Organizations and Medicare Advantage, including provider restrictions;
- expand originating sites for telehealth care; and
- create a Medicare Remote Patient Monitoring benefit for certain high-risk, high-cost patients.
The Medicare Telehealth Parity Act would phase in the expansion of telehealth services by:
- expanding the list of eligible providers and related covered services to include audiologists, speech-language pathologists, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists;
- removing the geographic barriers under current law restricting access to only certain areas;
- expanding access to telestroke services, regardless of where the patient is located; and
- allowing the beneficiary’s home to serve as a site of care for home dialysis, hospice care, outpatient mental health services, and home health services.
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Legislation Background: The CONNECT for Health Act was introduced in the Senate by Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Roger Wicker (R-MS), along with cosponsors Thad Cochran (R-MS), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), John Thune (R-SD), and Mark Warner (D-VA). The Medicare Telehealth Parity Act and Connect for Health Act were both introduced by Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA), Gregg Harper (R-MS), Diane Black (R-TN), and Peter Welch (D-VT) in the House. ASHA has endorsed both of these pieces of legislation in previous Congresses and is endorsing them again this year.