Senators Smith, Daines Renew Push to Permanently Expand Telehealth Services

Washington – U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Steve Daines (R-MT) reintroduced their bipartisan Expanded Telehealth Access Act to make pandemic-driven expanded access to certain telehealth services under Medicare permanent.

“The pandemic showed us that telehealth services are a lifeline for patients across Minnesota who may otherwise not be able to access the health care they need,” said Smith. “This legislation will ensure that patients who access physical and occupational therapists, audiologists, and speech language pathologists via telehealth can continue to get those services reimbursed permanently.”

“In rural states like Montana, folks often have to drive long distances just to receive care,” said Daines. “Expanded telehealth services help relieve this burden and give folks increased access to quality, affordable care. Now is not the time to cut back on these critical services, and I’ll keep working to ensure Montanans are able to see the providers they need.”

To help reduce risks associated with visiting medical providers during the pandemic, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) expanded the types of health care providers who receive reimbursement for telehealth services. The Expanded Telehealth Access Act makes permanent the reimbursement eligibility for physical therapists, audiologists, occupational therapists, and speech language pathologists and permits the Secretary of Health and Human services to expand this list.