In Letter to Congressional Leaders, TAFA Calls for Permanent Telehealth Protections as PHE Ends
PHE Offers “Stark Reminder” of Pandemic Hardships and Need to Safeguard Access to Virtual Care, says TAFA
Washington, D.C – Telehealth Access for America (TAFA) sent a letter to congressional leadership today calling for permanent protections for expanded telehealth access. As the Public Health Emergency (PHE) ends, the letter to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) outlines the need for Congress to provide patients and providers with permanent access to virtual care.
As the letter writes, “The end of the Public Health Emergency (PHE) today is a stark reminder of the hardships of COVID-19 and all that we have overcome. It is also a reminder of the progress we have made and the need to permanently safeguard access to one of the positive outcomes of the pandemic–the expansion of telehealth.”
TAFA goes on to discuss the “63-fold increase in telehealth utilization among Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) beneficiaries 2019 to 2020,” according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as well as the cost-saving, equity, quality care, and access benefits of telehealth.
For example, TAFA writes, “studies show that telehealth increases access to care without increasing costs to taxpayers, and average virtual care patients see a 61 percent decrease in their health care expenses compared to in-person care.” Patients also support permanent protections, and “a recent report found that seven-in-ten consumers say telehealth is better or comparable to in-person visits.”
The letter concludes by thanking lawmakers for extending telehealth protections through 2024 in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, but urges further action saying, “The patients and organizations we represent need certainty that only Congress can provide. It is in the best interest of patients and providers nationwide that Congress make telehealth a permanent piece of the health care puzzle.”
Read the full letter sent to leadership 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 at www.telehealthaccessforamerica.org.