U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines today sent a letter to Congressional leadership calling for the expansion of access to telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic to be made permanent. Provisions from Daines’ “CONNECT for Health Act” have allowed Medicare beneficiaries in Montana to utilize telehealth services and were included in previous COVID-19 legislation but will expire following the pandemic unless Congress acts to make those measures permanent.
“Telehealth has been a critical tool during the COVID-19 pandemic in ensuring that patients can continue to receive the health care services that they need while minimizing the spread of the virus and keeping health care providers and patients healthy and safe,” Daines wrote. “We continue to hear from our constituents and health care providers that the uncertainty about the long-term future of Medicare telehealth coverage is a barrier to organizations investing fully in telehealth. Congress needs to act now to better serve patients and health care providers during the pandemic, and to ensure that telehealth remains an option after the pandemic is over.”
To read the full letter, click HERE.
In his letter, Daines highlighted the growing use and benefits of telehealth during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as patients seek to avoid traveling to hospitals and other providers and instead receive care at home. New data shows that the number of Medicare beneficiaries using telehealth services increased by nearly 13,000 percent in just a month and a half during the pandemic.
The bipartisan and bicameral “Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) for Health Act” was first introduced in 2016. The bill, which is cosponsored by 46 senators, is considered the most comprehensive telehealth legislation in Congress.