Telehealth Enhancement Act of 2015 Introduced
Would Expand Access to Remote Monitoring and Telehealth Services
May 18, 2015 04:23 PM
Bipartisan legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives that would expand access to remote monitoring and telehealth. Introduced by Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS-03) and co-sponsored by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA-05), Rep. Diane Black (R-TN-06), and Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT-01), the Telehealth Enhancement Act of 2015 (H.R. 2066) would make major changes in federal laws pertaining to remote monitoring and telehealth.
Rep. Harper’s telehealth legislation builds off a previous bill, the Telehealth Enhancement Act of 2013, which sought to adjust Medicare home health payments to account for remote patient monitoring and to expand coverage to all critical access and sole community hospitals. “Telehealth is health care, and it should be a tool in every doctor's toolbox,” said Thompson about the legislation in 2013. “By expanding Medicare and Medicaid telehealth coverage through this legislation, we can make sure more people can get high-quality care no matter where they live or how far away they are from a doctor. Patients and providers want telehealth health, and the reason is simple - it saves money and saves lives. This bill is a big step in the right direction, and we need to keep working until telehealth is an option for everyone.”
The major provisions in the bill include:
Incentives for Medicare’s hospital readmission reduction program;
Ensuring the use of telehealth in health homes and medical homes;
Allow flexibility in ACO coverage of telehealth; and
Add additional sites to be considered originating sites for purposes of payments for telehealth services under Medicare such as a ‘home telehealth site.’
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice’s (NAHC’s) Home Care Technology Association of America (HCTAA) worked closely with the sponsors of the bill to ensure that telehealth services for both hospice care and home health services were included in the bill. “We support HR 2066 (and its Senate companion bill) because inclusion of a ‘home telehealth site’ and for the telehealth services related to hospice care and home health services,” stated Richard Brennan, NAHC’s VP of Technology Policy.