Daines Urges Greater Support for Montana Seniors and Healthcare Providers During Coronavirus Pandemic

U.S. SENATE –U.S. Senator Steve Daines today sent a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Azar and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Verma urging them to ensure access to audio-only telephone-based services during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is vital for Medicare patients who live in communities that lack sufficient broadband and internet connectivity.

“In order to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries in all regions of the country can have access to health care services during this time, we strongly urge you to address Medicare payment differences that exist between audio-visual telehealth services and audio-only medical consultations,” Daines wrote.

To read the full letter, click HERE.

For Montana’s Medicare beneficiaries that live in communities without sufficient broadband and internet connectivity, using telehealth services through internet based platforms is simply not an option. Access to audio-only telephone based services is critical during this pandemic to ensure that Montana’s seniors can receive the medical consultations they need in their own homes, instead of risking exposure at a health care facility. In order to ensure that this care is accessible to our most at-risk populations in their homes, it is critical that CMS make this care sustainable for providers by ensuring sufficient payment for telephone consultations when clinically appropriate during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Daines’ efforts are supported by: American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, American College of Physicians, American College of Rheumatology, American College of Surgeons, American Gastroenterological Association, American Geriatrics Society, American Medical Group Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy, American Telemedicine Association, Endocrine Society, Medical Group Management Association, and the Primary Care Collaborative.


Daines has been leading the efforts in Congress to respond to the coronavirus outbreak impacting the country. To read about Daines’ COVID-19 related efforts click HERE