House Bill Would Extend Telehealth, Hospital-at-Home Payments

May 9, 2024
Ways and Means Committee passes bill to extend Medicare telehealth payments for two years and hospital-at-home waiver for five years

The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee unanimously passed a bill that would extend Medicare patients' access to telehealth services for an additional two years. The bill also includes a five-year extension of the Acute Hospital Care at Home (AHCAH) waiver, which is set to expire at the end of this year.

The Preserving Telehealth, Hospital, and Ambulance Access Act was introduced by U.S. Reps David Schweikert, an Arizona Republican, and Mike Thompson, a Democrat from California.

Telehealth access was expanded for Medicare beneficiaries during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, Congress extended the coverage through the end of 2024. This legislation would ensure that patients can continue to get care through telehealth without any lapse in coverage.

“Embracing telehealth is one of the most moral actions we can take to expand patient access to healthcare providers, which will in turn make our brothers and sisters healthier while reducing overall costs,” said Rep. Schweikert, in a statement. “This bipartisan bill ensures that patients can continue to meet virtually with their providers and receive the quality care they deserve to make informed decisions about their health. I’m pleased to see the Ways and Means Committee pass this legislation, and I look forward to working with Rep. Thompson to pass this bill through the House.”


Advocacy organizations weighed in with praise for the bill. 

“We are supportive of this extension that would ensure millions of Medicare beneficiaries do not lose access to critical, lifesaving care at the end of this calendar year,” said Kyle Zebley, senior vice president, public policy for the American Telemedicine Association, and executive director of ATA Action, in a statement. "We are thrilled the House Ways and Means Committee advanced this legislation today on a bipartisan basis and hope Congress will continue to move this legislation forward sooner rather than later this year to provide certainty for patients and providers across the country.”


“Moving Health Home is thrilled to see the inclusion of a five-year extension of the important Acute Hospital Care at Home (AHCAH) waiver in the Preserving Telehealth, Hospital, and Ambulance Access Act (H.R. 8261),” said Krista Drobac, executive director, Moving Health Home, in a statement. “This extension will allow many Medicare beneficiaries to access acute hospital at home programs, which have demonstrated improved clinical outcomes, higher rates of patient satisfaction, and reduced healthcare costs.”

“This legislation continues some of the most critical telehealth flexibilities for rural providers and patients and extends special payment designations that promote access to care for rural residents,” said Alan Morgan, CEO of the National Rural Health Association, in a statement.

 

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