06.15.20

Daines: We Must Keep Expansion of Telehealth for Montanans

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines today sent a bipartisan letter to Senate Leadership urging them to make permanent provisions in previous COVID-19 legislation that expanded telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries.

“Telehealth has proven to be pivotal for many patients during the current pandemic, ensuring they receive the care they need while reducing the risk of infection and the further spread of COVID-19. We have all heard from our constituents about how effective and convenient it is,” Daines wrote. “Expanded Medicare coverage of telehealth services on a permanent basis—where clinically appropriate and with appropriate guardrails and beneficiary protections in place—would ensure that telehealth continues to be an option for all Medicare beneficiaries after the pandemic ends.”

Previous coronavirus legislation included provisions from the CONNECT for Health Act to increase access to telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Specifically, these laws provide the Secretary of Health and Human Services the authority to waive certain telehealth requirements, allow Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) to provide distant site telehealth services, and allow for the use of telehealth to conduct the face-to-face visit required to recertify a patient’s eligibility for hospice care.

To read the full letter, click HERE.

Background:

  • Senator Daines has been a champion for expanding telemedicine access for seniors in Montana.  
  • Senator Daines is a cosponsor of the CONNECT for Health Act to expand the use of telehealth and remote patient monitoring services in Medicare.
  • Senator Daines fought to ensure Montana’s seniors can receive consultations from their physicians, regardless of where they live, during the coronavirus pandemic.  Following a letter sent by Senator Daines, Medicare increased payments for audio telehealth, which is critical for Medicare beneficiaries in Montana that live in communities without sufficient broadband and internet connectivity.