On July 27, 2022, the House of Representatives passed the Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID–19 Act of 2021 (H.R.4040). The bill—which was introduced by Representatives Liz Cheney (R-WY-AL) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12)—would extend telehealth flexibilities for two years, through the end of 2024.
Specifically, the legislation would:
- remove geographic and originating site restrictions
- expand providers who can offer telehealth service, including physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and others
- allow Medicare reimbursement of telehealth services provided by physicians and practitioners working for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Rural Health Centers (RHCs)
- allow audio-only telehealth services
- expand access to telehealth services for the recertification of hospice care eligibility during an emergency period
The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) was pleased to see that a number of provisions in the bill align with provisions in the Permanency for Audio-Only Telehealth Act, which ASCO endorsed, as well as the CONNECT for Health Act and Telehealth Modernization Act, two bills that ASCO endorsed and advocated for on Capitol Hill. Those provisions include removing geographic and originating site restrictions, expanding reimbursement for telehealth services provided by physicians working for FQHCs and RHCs, and expanding access to audio-only telehealth services.
The bill has moved to the Senate, where its path forward is unclear. While there is broad support for extending telehealth flexibilities beyond the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, a full agenda and limited legislative days are creating obstacles. ASCO continues to advocate for the permanent extension of telehealth flexibilities.
Contact lawmakers in seconds via the ACT Network and urge them to make permanent the telehealth flexibilities established during the pandemic.
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