News: Bill would allow telehealth visits anywhere for months after COVID-19 pandemic
The Equal Access to Care Act would allow licensed providers to use telehealth to treat patients in any location for up to 180 days after the end of the national COVID-19 emergency. The new bill is currently before Congress and aims to allow providers free use of telehealth in the aftermath of the pandemic.
The bill comes only a month after the American College of Physicians submitted a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma recommending telehealth flexibilities remain in place after the pandemic.
According to the bill, “the location of the provision of such services shall be deemed to be the (state in which the provider is located) and any requirement that such physician, practitioner, or other provider obtain a comparable license or other comparable legal authorization from the (state in which the patient is located) with respect to the provision of such services (including requirements relating to the prescribing of drugs in such secondary state) shall not apply.”
The Equal Access to Care Act assesses that telehealth has proven an effective tool for giving patients access to healthcare, not only during the COVID-19 pandemic but prior as well. Expanding the use of telehealth visits and easing some of the current restrictions would allow more patients to get the care they need without potentially exposing themselves to COVID-19 at a doctor’s office or hospital.
Allowing providers to treat patients via telehealth in any location can help to expand healthcare access in the communities hit hardest by the virus, aiding in the nation’s long-term recovery.