July 09, 2020

Federal Push to Permanent Telehealth Policy and Massachusetts Approval of Permanent Policy on Telehealth

On June 29, 340 organizations signed a letter to Congress asking for a permanent telehealth reform that focuses on removing telehealth restrictions regarding the location of a patient, providing HHS with flexibility to expand the list of eligible telehealth practitioners, ensuring FQHCs and RHCs can furnish telehealth services after the end of the public health emergency declaration, and making permanent the temporary waiver authority of HHS during emergencies so that it could act quickly during future pandemics and natural disasters. In turn, Congress sent a letter to HHS and CMS asking for, among other things, a written plan and timeline for adopting rules governing the provision of telehealth under Section 1135 permanent and a list of permanent telehealth changes to Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP that require Congressional action. At the state level, the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine announced on June 26 that it approved a permanent policy removing the requirement for face-to-face encounters prior to the use of telemedicine to provide care.