Capitol Correspondence - 05.14.24

House Ways and Means Committee Advances Two-Year Telehealth Extension Bill

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The House Ways and Means Committee recently passed the Preserving Telehealth, Hospital, and Ambulance Access Act by a unanimous vote of 41-0. This legislation, geared towards extending telehealth services for two years, gained bipartisan support despite some concerns raised during the markup.

Lawmakers expressed apprehensions regarding certain provisions within the bill, including issues regarding high-cost durable medical equipment and clinical diagnostics guardrails. Additionally, there were reservations about the extension of hospice recertification via telehealth, with some lawmakers highlighting potential fraud risks in the hospice program.

Despite these reservations, the extension bill was praised by several stakeholders, including the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), for maintaining current Medicare telehealth flexibilities until the end of 2026. The legislation also received support from the Federation of American Hospitals, particularly for its impact on rural healthcare access.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is expected to follow suit with a telehealth extension bill this week, further advancing efforts to extend telehealth services.