Today the Health Innovation Alliance (HIA) issued the following statement of support for the Safe Testing at Residence Telehealth (START) Act, introduced by Congressmen David Schweikert (R-Arizona), Bobby Rush (D-Illinois), Mike Kelly (R-Pennsylvania), and Mike Thompson (D-California):
“We commend the sponsors of this common sense legislation to encourage safe and convenient testing, while avoiding unnecessary exposure to the health care system where spread of Covid-19 is more likely and costs are higher.” said Joel White, Executive Director, Health Innovation Alliance.
This bipartisan legislation would provide robust at-home COVID-19 testing for seniors and other vulnerable populations.Research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Kaiser Family Foundation have found that U.S. adults age 65 and older account for roughly 16 percent of the population and 80 percent of COVID-19 deaths.
The Safe Testing at Residence Telehealth Act of 2020 would amend the Social Security Act by adding coverage and payment for Medicare beneficiaries to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved at-home tests. The approved tests would help diagnose or discount a diagnosis of COVID-19 or other similar respiratory infection and be done in conjunction with an assistive telehealth consultation.
Through this legislation, seniors will be able to safely consult with their physician from the comfort of their homes. Relieved of risking exposure or coordinating transportation, families and health officials will now have more complete data to act on. Seniors continue adapting to the new models of care made available thanks to generous telehealth waiver restrictions. From January to June of 2020, 43 percent of Medicare nationwide primary care claims have been through telehealth.