ICYMI: 370+ Health Care and Patient Advocate Leaders Call on Senate to Take Immediate Action to Protect Telehealth Access
Momentum for virtual care protections continues to grow as all eyes look to the Senate to provide telehealth protections
In case you missed it, 375 leading patient, provider, business, and health care association stakeholders sent a letter yesterday to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) showcasing the benefits of expanded telehealth access established as a result of the Public Health Emergency (PHE) and called for immediate Senate action to protect this vital virtual care access.
The letter, co-led by Telehealth Access for America (TAFA) members the American Telemedicine Association, Alliance for Connected Care, Consumer Technology Association, Executives for Health Innovation, Health Innovation Alliance, HIMSS, and Partnership to Advance Virtual Care, among others, outlines that, “patients now expect and often prefer telehealth as a key component of our health care system and providers have been able to reach many patients that previously had access barriers through virtual care.”
“While we appreciate these temporary extensions, the short-term nature continues to introduce significant uncertainty into our health care system… patients who utilize telehealth as part of their care plan face the possibility of a forced return to in-person care. This is particularly concerning for those utilizing telehealth to reach experts at longer distances, for access to mental and behavioral health practitioners, and those receiving ongoing remote care for chronic conditions,” the letter continues. “Virtual care is now a fundamental part of the U.S. health care system, and it will improve patient access to high quality care and strengthen continuity of care well beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The letter concludes with a call to action: “we urge the Senate to act this fall to ensure certainty for telehealth services. As demonstrated by the House – which passed the Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act (H.R. 4040) by a vote of 416-12 – telehealth is an overwhelmingly bipartisan issue. The Senate should act to pass a two-year extension of these important telehealth policies, while continuing to push for a permanent extension.”
This letter reiterates continued calls from stakeholders in support of action to permanently protect access to virtual care and the expanded health equity, improved access to care, and lower cost benefits that telehealth offers patients and providers. As a national voter survey outlined earlier this year, 78 percent of voters support the passage of legislation to permanently protect telehealth access.
The time for the Senate to act is now.
Read the full letter HERE.
Learn more about how Congress can act to permanently protect telehealth access HERE.
ABOUT TELEHEALTH ACCESS FOR AMERICA
Telehealth Access for America (TAFA) is a public education campaign supported by leaders in health care committed to better care, expanded patient choice, and protecting access to critical telehealth services. Learn more and take action today at www.telehealthaccessforamerica.org.