The Alliance for Connected Care provided comments in response to the Healthy Future Task Force Modernization Subcommittee request for information regarding the utilization of wearable technologies, the expansion of telemedicine, and digital modernization efforts in the United States health care system. The goal of the Healthy Future Task Force is to build on Republican health policy goals and craft patient-focused agendas for the future. The Modernization Subcommittee aims to harness technological innovations to deliver affordable, quality care to all Americans.
The Alliance believes telehealth has the potential to broaden access to care and improve patient engagement and outcomes, and we should catalyze on the progress made throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the telehealth flexibilities that have been utilized and enjoyed over the past two years can be maintained or expanded. As such, we provided recommendations that we believe the Modernization Subcommittee should consider when developing legislative solutions to expanding telehealth and addressing barriers to interstate licensure.
In response to the Subcommittee’s question on which flexibilities created under the COVID-19 public health emergency should be made permanent, the Alliance provided comments on each of the following recommendations:
- Reinstate telehealth safe harbor for individuals with HDHP-HSAs
- Permanently remove obstructive in-person requirements for telemental health services
- Remove outdated geographic and originating-site restrictions on telehealth
- Ensure FQHCs, CAHs, and RHCs can furnish telehealth in Medicare
- Remove distant site provider list restrictions
- Allow employers to offer telehealth benefits for seasonal and part-time workers
- Enable CMS to investigate and retain some “Hospital Without Walls” authorities
- Allow CMS to cover audio-only telehealth services where necessary to bridge gaps in access to care
- Facilitate the removal of remaining telehealth restrictions on alternative payment models
- Expand virtual chronic disease interventions with the potential to prevent downstream costs to the Medicare program.
The Alliance also provided comments on what Congress can do to remove barriers to providing care across state lines, including a proposal that would instruct HHS to convene experts and support the development of a voluntary, national framework for interstate licensure using a policy of mutual recognition.
To read the full letter, click here or see below: