Bill introduced to expand telehealth services in Medicaid program

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Published: May. 18, 2023 at 1:51 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Congressman Jake LaTurner has helped introduce a new bill to expand telehealth services in the Medicaid program.

Congressman Jake LaTurner (R-KS) says he has joined Representatives Chris Pappas (D-NH), Lisa McClain (R-MI), Marcus Molinaro (R-NY), Alex Mooney (R-WV) and Zach Nunn (R-IA) to introduce the Protecting Rural Telehealth Access Act.

Rep. LaTurner said the bill will expand access to healthcare and save patients time and money as permanent Medicare coverage of telehealth services is made available after the COVID-19 pandemic.

LaTurner noted that the changes would allow patients to be treated at home, allow rural health clinics and federally qualified health centers to provide telehealth services and expand coverage of audio-only services for certain conditions - among others.

“Since the pandemic, telehealth has significantly expanded health care access for rural communities across Kansas,” LaTurner said. “I am proud to help introduce the bipartisan Protecting Rural Telehealth Access Act to ensure folks across our state can continue receiving essential health care services without the burden of long-distance travel.”

Specifically, LaTurner indicated that the bill would expand and make permanent Medicare coverage of telehealth services as it:

  • Removes geographic restrictions on originating sites to allow patients to be treated from home.
    • Before the pandemic, the home was allowed as an eligible originating site in Medicare and some Medicaid programs, but only for very specific services and only for the patient - not the provider.
  • Allows Critical Access Hospitals to directly bill for telehealth services.
  • Allows rural health clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers to serve as distance sites for telehealth services.
  • Expands coverage to include audio-only services for evaluation and management and behavioral health services.

To read the full text of the legislation, click HERE.