Now in the Library: A Look at Recent Telehealth Legislation

A new report has been added to the CTeL Research Library!

The 115th Congress, which began in January of this year, has been a particularly busy one for the introduction of telehealth-related legislation. Notably, at a time of intense partisanship on the Hill, the vast majority of these bills have been bipartisan ones. Telehealth, though, has long been an area that has seen support from both sides of the aisle, and the legislation introduced over the past few months appears to be continuing that tradition. Similarly, this spring also saw a bipartisan group of lawmakers debut the Telehealth Caucus; led by longtime telehealth advocates Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS), Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), and Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), it will be dedicated to improving access to and quality of telehealth and remote monitoring.

This spring also saw the release of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study asserting that outdated Medicare reimbursement policies and other coverage limitations are standing in the way of wider utilization. Such restrictions, the agency’s researchers argued, “limit the geographic and practice settings in which beneficiaries may receive services, as well as the types of services that may be provided via telehealth and the types of technology that may be used.” Many of the bills introduced have specifically targeted existing Medicare restrictions, and the GAO report could help bolster the case for their passage.

While, of course, most bills that are introduced fail to become law, the introduction of legislation can serve to raise awareness and to start conversations—and to build momentum for future legislative action. So even if the 115th Congress ends without any of the below bills becoming law (a likely scenario), their introduction serves to show that a growing number of lawmakers see the value in telehealth.

We’ve been following the progress of a number of these bills here on the Telehealth Buzz blog (and will continue to do so). But be sure to download our in-depth report, available in the Research Library, for further analysis.


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