ICYMI: Millions of People Counting on Congress to Protect Telehealth Access
Telehealth Access for America Op-ed Highlights Unprecedented Momentum to Permanently Safeguard Access to Virtual Care
In case you missed it, in a recent op-ed published in Healthcare Dive, Telehealth Access for America (TAFA) underscored the critical role being played by telehealth in improving America’s health care system for consumers and the need for urgent congressional action to avoid a telehealth cliff and ensure permanent access to virtual care.
“Millions of patients in communities across the nation who have come to rely on telehealth have been left waiting and wondering if they will be able to receive the virtual care they need once the PHE, and any temporary extension tied to the designation, have ended,” TAFA spokesperson Julia Mirich notes. “There is overwhelming support for permanent telehealth access and flexibilities among the American public, U.S. voters, and health care practitioners.”
The piece highlights broad-based bipartisan support for telehealth in Washington, referencing recent comments from lawmakers including Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX) who said, “The committee can and should work together to make telehealth access permanent, this is the silver lining of the COVID pandemic. In the first year of the pandemic the nation’s weekly average of telehealth users jumped from 13,000 to 1.7 million. We need to make these telehealth access permanent. We’ve seen it work and save countless lives of seniors and those facing dire mental health challenges. It’s time to make this solution a permanent one.” And Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), who called for congressional protections, said, “We’re still feeling the impacts of coronavirus, especially in older and more vulnerable populations, which is why these telehealth services must be extended.”
The op-ed also showcases recent data that shows overwhelming support for permanent telehealth access and flexibilities among the American public, U.S. voters, and healthcare practitioners, including:
- An April survey released by the Alliance for Connected Care found three in four respondents agreed patients should have the option to receive care via telehealth even after the pandemic. The survey also found 96 percent of healthcare practitioners believe virtual care expands patient healthcare access and 91 percent of healthcare practitioners agreed that they should be able to provide care virtually post-pandemic.
- A March poll from the American Medical Association that found 80 percent of physicians indicate that patients have better access to care since using telehealth. In addition, by a more than two-to-one margin, respondents also said telehealth decreased the cost of care.
- And a poll released by TAFA in December 2021 that found 78 percent of U.S. voters support legislation that would permanently protect access to telehealth for patients, including a majority of both parties.
“All the components for action are in place. It is incumbent on Congress to capitalize on the unprecedented momentum to safeguard permanent access to telehealth,” the piece concludes. “The millions of patients living in every community in America who rely on virtual care, those who can benefit from telehealth innovation and access in the future and the entire U.S. health care system are counting on lawmakers to meet the moment.”
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.