More Federal expansion of telehealth coverage proposed in Senate (US)

The Telehealth Innovation and Improvement Act (Senate Bill 2343), a bipartisan bill to expand Medicare coverage of rural telehealth, was proposed last week by Senators Cory Gardner of Colorado and Gary Peters of Michigan. It would authorize Health and Human Services (HHS) to test new telehealth programs through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. CMMI would then evaluate new telehealth models on cost, effectiveness and care improvement. Senator Gardner’s intent is to permanently expand rural telehealth. The bill has moved to the Finance committee. Another Senate bill may be proposed before the holiday break by Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz to integrate telemedicine technology into alternative payment programs including Medicaid Advantage, a service of great utility in his state where 70 percent of the population is on one island, Oahu,  and about 30 percent is scattered over four other islands. iHealthBeat, mHealthIntelligence.

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