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URAC joins 430 organizations urging Congress to address current “telehealth cliff”

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WASHINGTON — URAC joined 430 organizations, including six of its telehealth accredited organizations, to send a letter  to ask Congress to permanently extend several key waivers put in place during the height of the COVID-19 public health emergency to expand access to and coverage of telehealth services. URAC agrees with the other signatories that Congress should establish a post-pandemic connected health policy.

Addressed to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the letter calls on Congress to:

  • Remove geographic and originating site restrictions for telehealth, expanding telehealth services in rural areas and enabling patient to receive care in their homes.
  • Give the Health and Human Services Secretary the authority to expand the list of providers able to use telehealth and add or remove services that can be delivered via telehealth and covered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and allow CMS to expand coverage for other modalities, such as audio-only telehealth, when clinically appropriate.
  • Allow federally qualified health centers, rural health clinics and critical-access hospitals to continue to use telehealth after the PHE ends.
  • Eliminate restrictions on Medicare coverage for telemental health services, including the requirement that a provider and patient first meet in person before using telehealth.

“Telehealth is not a COVID-19 novelty, and the regulatory flexibilities granted by Congress must not be viewed solely as pandemic response measures,” the letter continues. “Patient satisfaction surveys and claims data from CMS and private health plans tell a compelling story of the large-scale transformation of our nation’s health care system over the past year and, importantly, demonstrate strong patient interest and demand for telehealth access post-pandemic.”

“URAC joins our clients Amwell, Doctor on Demand, Innovatel, Onduo, SOC Telemed and Teladoc, along with key thought leaders in telehealth in signing this letter to urge Congress to act.”


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