Telehealth waivers take critical step in extending to 2024 in House bill now passed

In a 406-12 vote last week, the US House of Representatives passed HR 4040, the Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID–19 Act of 2021. The bill, which now goes to the Senate after the August recess, extends key Medicare telehealth waiver provisions to the end of 2024.

The key provisions extended are:

  • Permitting Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and rural health clinics to serve as the distant site (i.e., the location of the health care practitioner)
  • Medicare beneficiaries to receive telehealth services at any site, regardless of type or location
  • Any type of practitioner to furnish telehealth services, subject to approval by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
  • Audio-only evaluation and management and behavioral health services
  • Delay of in-person requirements for behavioral health telehealth
  • Use of telehealth to satisfy Medicare face-to-face telehealth requirements for hospice care

The current emergency telehealth extension expires five months after the end of the Covid-19 public health emergency (PHE). As of today, that ends in October 2022. For any further extensions or permanent changes, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is required to seek them from Congressional legislation. FierceHealthcare, ATA releases 25 July, 27 July 

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