Curated Telehealth and Telemedicine Article http://ctel.org/2019/03/bipartisan-telemental-health-bill-reintroduced/ Last Congress was an especially successful one for
telemedicine-related laws, since lawmakers in both the House and the Senate
introduced more than two dozen statements (a few of which even became legislation ) that could remove restrictions on the use of telemedicine, increase Medicare
reimbursement for care provided via telemedicine, or lead extra funds toward telemedicine pilot programs. It appears like the new 116th
Congress might appear to be as eventful, together using the reintroduction past month using a bipartisan House bill that would include Medicare beneficiaries’ homes
to the listing of qualified originating websites for the provision of tele-mental
health care services. H.R. 1301, the Mental
Health Telemedicine Expansion Act, authored by Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA)
and Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY), has been initially introduced in the previous Congress,
and is aimed at expanding access to mental healthcare for Medicare
The legislation could especially target Centers for
Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) restrictions on Medicare reimbursement;
under current law, patient homes aren’t regarded as eligible originating sites.
Even though Rep. Reed and Rep. DelBene’s bill would still need an in-person
patient examination prior to services can be provided remotely, following that,
tele-mental health services provided to a patient within their home would qualify for reimbursement. Although neither lawmaker has created a statement on
H.R. 1301 however , they both spoke during the prior Congress in their
legislation’s potential to relieve mental-health care access problems.
“Everyone–no matter where they live–have to have access to telemedicine
services in the comfort of the home so that they can be treated to mental
health conditions ranging from depression and anxiety to addiction and suicidal
ideas,” Rep. DelBene explained in a media release at the moment. Said Rep. Reed,”We
take care of the emotional health needs of individuals and would like to ensure they have fair
accesses into the care they want in areas where physicians are scarce through the
most updated technology accessible.”
Per Politico, the Mental Health Telemedicine Expansion Act is not the only bit of
telemedicine-related legislation from the 115th Congress which lawmakers are
consuming again. As was reported last week, the lead sponsors of this bipartisan
Reducing Unnecessary Senior
Hospitalization Act (RUSH) Act, including Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE), Rep.
Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) are planning to
reintroduce it soon, together with the boon of telemedicine advocacy groups. The
bill would incentivize the use of telemedicine in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs)
by allowing Medicare to enter into agreements with certain medical groups to
give gear and acute care–such as through telemedicine–to SNF patients,
thereby cutting down the need for expensive emergency room visits. A study published last
year in the American Journal of Managed Care, as we reported at the time,
revealed that the use of telemedicine to connect patients with doctors after
hours may help significantly cut down on hospital readmissions one of SNF
patients, together with saving cash.
Click here to view the text of H.R. 1301, the Mental Health Telemedicine Expansion Act.
Click here to read the Politico post on the potential reintroduction of the RUSH Act (second story).