June 19, 2017

June 16, 2017

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Bipartisan Bill To Test Telehealth Services for Medicare Beneficiaries

Last week, Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced new legislation to test expanded Medicare coverage of telehealth services.  The Telehealth Innovation and Improvement Act requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to allow selected, eligible hospitals to offer telehealth services in cooperation with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), which develops and tests new service delivery models for cost, effectiveness, and improvement in quality of care.  Models that are successful under the CMMI’s criteria could be expanded and covered by the Medicare program.

The stated goal of the Senators introducing the Telehealth Innovation and Improvement Act is to improve access to healthcare for rural Medicare beneficiaries, who sometimes live far away from hospitals and medical centers.  The bill’s sponsors also believe the proposed legislation will lower health care costs and reduce emergency room visits, hospitalizations and readmissions.

Senators Gardner and Peters previously introduced similar telehealth legislation in 2015.  That bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee, but it was never given a hearing or voted on.

© 2017 Covington & Burling LLP


About this Author

Liza Khan, Covington Burling Law Firm, Healthcare Attorney

Liza Khan is an associate in the firm’s Washington, DC office, where she practices in the areas of federal-state programs and healthcare.  Ms. Khan helps clients navigate state and federal rules and policies, including those governing the Medicare and Medicaid programs.  Ms. Khan regularly counsels clients on the new mandates of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Medicaid price reporting issues, coverage and reimbursement of drugs and devices under federal healthcare programs, Medicaid Section 1115 demonstration waivers, among other issues