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New Report Calls on Congress to Make Telehealth Reforms Permanent, Applauded by Bipartisan Pair of U.S. Senators

Contact: Carter Christensen, cchristensen@ppionline.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) has released a new white paper in partnership with Americans for Prosperity (AFP), calling on Congress to make telehealth reforms permanent amid and after the COVID-19 emergency — an unlikely partnership in a time of great need for innovation and leadership.

A bipartisan pair of Senators shared support of the findings of the new report — Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), have worked across party lines to advance telehealth across the country.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) said, “As this paper shows, telehealth is a rare area with strong bipartisan support and it’s here to stay. While we have made some progress in Congress on expanding access to telehealth during this pandemic, we have more work to do to make these changes permanent and allow more patients to continue receiving the critical health care they need wherever they are.”

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) said, “It is refreshing to see two groups with such different perspectives come together to support greater access to telehealth. When Senator Schatz and I started our telehealth working group years ago, we chose to work on bipartisan policy that would improve access to health care and save lives. We will continue to work together to ensure Americans can enjoy the benefits of telehealth for years to come.”

Numerous citizen organizations are urging congressional leaders to make other temporary Medicare telehealth changes permanent, as are a growing number of lawmakers – including a bipartisan group of 29 U.S. senators.15 Meanwhile, numerous lawmakers have introduced legislation, including the bipartisan CONNECT for Health Act, which would grant CMS standing authority to make a number of positive changes on a permanent basis.16

Here are the specific policies that AFP and PPI recommend Congress make permanent:

• Continue allowing patients to use telehealth outside of rural areas and at home.

• Continue allowing providers to deliver care to both established and new patients.

• Continue allowing licensed providers to practice across state lines.

• Continue allowing health care providers to use store-and-forward technologies where medically appropriate.

• Do not impose payment parity for telehealth services versus those provided in person.

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