ICYMI: “America Needs Certainty On Telehealth That Only Congress Can Provide.”
TAFA Op-ed Highlights the Need for Permanent Telehealth Protections Following PHE End
In case you missed it, in a recent op-ed published in Inside Telehealth, Telehealth Access for America (TAFA) underscored the need for Congress to pass permanent telehealth reform following the end of the Public Health Emergency (PHE) last Thursday, May 11.
The op-ed highlights the benefits of expanded virtual care access as a result of the pandemic and notes the bipartisan momentum for action and efforts to codify telehealth protections. For example, the temporary protections passed in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 last year that will last through 2024. TAFA also emphasizes the bipartisan nature of telehealth, which has allowed millions to access the care they need. urgency for more permanent action, and the far-reaching benefits of virtual care access.
TAFA details how this increased access is particularly essential for underserved groups, saying “The largest increase in telehealth use among Medicare beneficiaries – 56x – was among individuals residing in disadvantaged neighborhoods. According to another recent analysis, 98 percent of Latinx/Hispanic patients who received behavioral care during the first year of the pandemic were treated virtually.”
“The expansion of access to virtual care, advancements in telehealth technology, and a dramatic rise in utilization demonstrate that telehealth plays a critical role in breaking down persistent barriers to health care for underserved communities, lowers health care costs, supports better health outcomes, gives consumers more choices, and helps improve quality of life for patients,” TAFA notes.
The op-ed goes on to discuss support among patients and providers, writing that, “Clinicians and specialists agree telehealth helps improve access to underserved communities, communities of color, seniors, and parts of rural America that lack access to robust health care options,” and that “73 percent of telehealth users believe Congress should make telehealth flexibilities permanent.”
TAFA concludes by saying, “America needs certainty on telehealth that only Congress can provide. Lawmakers did the right thing by rallying behind a solution to protect telehealth around the end of the PHE. Let’s build on that positive momentum with permanent reforms to safeguard access to virtual care for millions of patients.” This comes as TAFA last week sent a letter to congressional leaders urging permanent action.
Read the full op-ed in Inside Telehealth HERE, letter to Congress HERE, and 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.