Sen. Schatz Helps Introduce Bill to Expand Telehealth Services
Today, the Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies was introduced by U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), John Thune (R-S.D.), and Mark Warner (D-Va.).
The bipartisan legislation would expand telehealth services in Medicare, improve care outcomes, make it easier for patients to connect with their health care providers, and help cut costs for patients and providers.
“Telehealth is the future of health care. It expands access to care, lowers costs, and helps more people stay healthy,” said Sen. Brian Schatz. “Our bipartisan bill will help change the way patients get the care they need, improving the health care system for both patients and health care providers.”
“Mississippi is a national leader in demonstrating how telehealth can successfully bring health care to people in their communities, often providing life-saving care that otherwise would not be available. The bipartisan CONNECT for Health Act is intended to use Mississippi’s good example to expand telehealth services nationwide,” said Sen. Thad Cochran.
“We have the technology today to promote the delivery of high quality care in an efficient and cost-effective way around the country,” said Sen. Ben Cardin. “I’ve seen firsthand the positive value of telehealth and remote monitoring in Maryland that connects ICU patients with critical care staff based at larger medical centers.”
Telehealth is the provision of health care services via telecommunications technologies, such as live video interactions and asynchronous medical data transfers.
Remote patient monitoring refers to personal medical data transmitted securely from an individual in one location via electronic communications technologies to a provider in a different location for the purposes of medical care.
According to studies, telehealth and remote patient monitoring have been shown to improve care and patient satisfaction while reducing costs. The CONNECT for Health Act is a bipartisan approach to increase the use of telehealth and remote patient monitoring in Medicare.
Specifically, the legislation would:
· Build on the CONNECT for Health Act-inspired provisions in the CHRONIC Care Act, which expand the use of telehealth in accountable care organizations and Medicare Advantage, as well as for home dialysis patients and the evaluation of an acute stroke;
· Expand the use of remote patient monitoring for certain patients with chronic conditions
· Increase telehealth and remote patient monitoring services in community health centers and rural health clinics, Native American sites, and in global and bundled payments
· Provide direct authority to the HHS secretary to lift existing restrictions on telehealth when certain quality and cost-effectiveness criteria are met; and
· Expand the use of tele-mental health.
“The AMA strongly supports the CONNECT for Health Act of 2017 and applauds Senators Schatz, Wicker, Cochran, Cardin, Thune, and Warner for their continued leadership on telemedicine issues. This legislation would advance patient-centered care through strategic and validated telemedicine and remote-patient monitoring tools and modalities. Increasing Medicare coverage for these telemedicine services will help transform the next generation of health care delivery in ways that promote value and improved patient outcomes,” said Andrew W. Gurman, MD, President of the American Medical Association.
“Giving seniors access to remote care is an important part of the future of high-quality, value-based, cost-effective care in Medicare. The CONNECT for Health Act makes it a reality,” said Krista Drobac, Executive Director of the Alliance for Connected Care.