Tell Congress: Make Telehealth Access A Priority


The past year has highlighted the value of expanded access to telehealth services. Now is the time to urge Congress to support the inclusion of telehealth services under Medicare as a priority in any infrastructure package.

ACT NOW by contacting your U.S. Representative and Senators.

During the pandemic, the federal government has facilitated telehealth by waiving geographic restrictions to benefit patients nationwide, removing originating site restrictions to allow beneficiaries to communicate with their doctor from their home. In addition, CMS expanded the telehealth options to include video conferences on a connected portal, FaceTime calls, and temporarily allowed audio-only calls. 

Ask Congress to make these changes permanent by including these proposals in any infrastructure package:

  • The CONNECT for Health Act of 2021 (S. 1512, H.R. 1149), which would permanently expand the use of telehealth services through Medicare, and make permanent several COVID-19 telehealth flexibilities. The legislation removes all geographic restrictions on telehealth services and expands originating sites to include the home and other sites. It would permanently allow hospice providers to perform the face-to-face recertification via telehealth and also require a study to learn more about how telehealth has been used during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The Ensuring Parity in MA and PACE for Audio-Only Telehealth Act (H.R. 2166), which would allow PACE organizations to make risk adjustment submissions for participants based on audio-only telehealth visits and audio-only telehealth services to MA enrollees. Additionally, the bill would ensure that providers will be adequately compensated by requiring MA plans to reimburse them for audio-only telehealth visits as if they were in person visits unless both parties have agreed to a separate payment policy.

  • The Home Health Emergency Access to Technology (HEAT) Act (S. 1309), which would provide payments for home health services furnished through visual or audio telecommunications systems during a public health emergency. It would put in place appropriate guardrails, and create a system to determine equivalency between in-person and virtual visits.

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Thank you for taking action! Join us all month for our Building Commuinities of Strength campaign by checking out our toolkit of materials and ideas on how to participate.

As a constituent who is concerned for older adults and those who serve them, I ask that you please co-sponsor the Home Health Emergency Access to Telehealth (HEAT) Act (S.4854/H.R. 8677) and push for its inclusion in any future COVID-relief or other health care package. 

Under current law, Medicare cannot reimburse home health providers for virtual care and, as a result, our home health members have been put in the untenable position of forfeiting adequate reimbursement to better protect their staff and patients. The HEAT Act (S.4854/H.R. 8677) would provide home health providers with the ability to receive reimbursement for providing telehealth visits with appropriate protections for patients and families. 

Home health providers are a critical component of the aging services infrastructure and they need the flexibility provided by this legislation to ensure that they can safely serve their patients without forfeiting adequate reimbursement. Please act to protect older adults and those who serve them by co-sponsoring the HEAT Act  (S.4854/H.R. 8677).