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Neguse, Curtis Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Spur Telehealth Innovation

July 26, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC—Today, Representatives Joe Neguse (D-CO) and John Curtis (R-UT) introduced the bipartisan and bicameral Telehealth Innovation and Improvement Act, legislation that would encourage telehealth innovation and promote expanded access to healthcare services in rural and urban areas through telehealth and digital services. Currently, Medicare covers limited telehealth services, setting a poor industry standard, discouraging innovation, and restricting access to specialized care. 

“For constituents across my district, and especially those in rural areas, this bill will mean more access to quality healthcare, better health outcomes, and a more efficient healthcare system overall,” said Neguse. “I have heard about the importance of expanding access to telehealth from countless constituents and providers alike. This bill will help grow access to these critical services while also improving quality of care. I am pleased to work with Representative Curtis to bring together values from both sides of the aisle to enhance access to care for citizens across our country.”

“Telehealth innovation is critical to expanding cost-effective healthcare access in a state like Utah, where care is often unavailable or difficult to access for rural communities,” said Curtis. “The Telehealth Innovation and Improvement Act will help incentivize healthcare organizations and providers to find innovative ways to deliver care to Utah families at a lower cost. Technology provides great potential to enhance connectivity between healthcare professionals and their patients and I’m pleased to work with willing partners on both sides of the aisle to find healthcare solutions for rural communities across Utah and around the country.”

Background: 

  • Requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to allow eligible hospitals to apply to test expanded telehealth delivery models through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation Center (CMI). CMI is an existing program that tests new service models to reduce Medicare and Medicaid expenditures. 
  • Directs the Secretary of HHS to review telehealth models through a CMI independent evaluator, for cost, effectiveness, and improvement in quality of care without increasing the cost of healthcare delivery.
  • If the telehealth model improves quality of care without increasing spending or decreases Medicare spending, then that specific telehealth model will be covered through the greater Medicare program. 

 

Issues: