Washington, D.C. (March 10, 2022): Today the Health Innovation Alliance (HIA) issued the following statement following the U.S. House of Representatives passage of the bill to extend government funding through fiscal year 2022 that includes several extensions of telehealth policies:
“It’s common sense that seniors should have access to health care through telehealth after the end of the pandemic, and Congress is making the right call by extending these policies. Health Innovation Alliance is particularly pleased to see that HSAs can continue to be used to cover telehealth services through 2022.
We look forward to working with Congress to make sure these policies become permanent and that outdated statutory language and antiquated thinking do not stand in the way of access to care and modernization.”
Specifically, the bill will extend the following Medicare policies for 151 days after the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency:
- Allows Medicare beneficiaries to continue accessing telehealth services despite their location and from the comfort of their homes by waiving the geographic and originating site requirements;
- Allows additional providers like occupational therapists and physician therapists to continue serving seniors virtually;
- Allows federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and rural health clinics (RHCs) to be reimbursed for providing telehealth services to seniors;
- Allows for seniors to access audio-only telehealth services; and
- Allows for the virtual recertification of hospice care.
The bill also:
- Delays the in-person visit requirements for mental health services provided through telehealth to beneficiaries for 151 days after the pandemic;
- Allows for first dollar coverage of telehealth services through health savings accounts (HSAs) for individuals with high deductible health plans (HDHPs) through the end of 2022;
- And requires MedPAC to issue a report to Congress on Medicare telehealth utilization and expenditures and the HHS Office of the Inspector General to issue a report to Congress on program integrity risks in telehealth – both reports are due by June 15, 2023.