Extension of Telehealth Flexibility
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation to further extend the Medicare telehealth flexibilities first instituted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. If passed by the Senate and signed into law, the “Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act” (H.R. 4040) would extend Medicare telehealth waivers through December 31, 2024.
The extension includes:
- Removing geographic requirements and expanding originating sites for telehealth services to enable beneficiaries in both rural and non-rural communities to receive telehealth services from their home or any other location;
- Expanding the list of telehealth eligible providers include qualified occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech-language therapists, and audiologists.
- Delaying in-person visit requirements for the delivery of mental health services via telehealth, including those furnished by rural health clinics and federally qualified health clinics;
- Including audio-only as a covered telehealth modality; and,
- Allowing the use of telehealth to conduct a face-to-face encounter prior to recertification of eligibility for hospice care.
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