Cheney introduces bill to continue telehealth access


SHERIDAN — Liz Cheney, Wyoming’s lone U.S. House Representative, introduced legislation to continue access to telehealth for seniors around the country, even after the relaxed requirements for it end when the COVID-19 emergency declaration ceases.

The legislation, known as the Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act, would make it so Medicare beneficiaries no longer have to use designated ‘originating sites’ for telehealth services and can use it outside of physician shortages, according to a release from Cheney.

It would make telehealth at federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics permanent, ensuring rural health care providers can continue to use telehealth and be compensated for it.

The release also said the bill would remove restrictions limiting the ability to provide access to smart devices and other technology to patients.

“Congress has worked with the Trump Administration to remove many of the barriers that prevented seniors from utilizing telehealth service from the safety of their homes,” Cheney said in an email to The Sheridan Press. “As a result, telehealth use among seniors has continued to rise and this legislation would continue this successful trend well after the pandemic is over, while allowing Medicare to adapt to the ever-changing innovation in medical technology.”

The bill, which is cosponsored by Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., Rep. David Kustoff, R-Tenn., and Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., joins seven other bills introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives aimed at expanding telehealth capabilities after the COVID-19 pandemic passes.

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