washington d.c. – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (PA-16) voted in favor of HR 4040, the Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act. The bill passed the United States House of Representatives by a vote of 416 to 12. This bill contains language identical to Rep. Kelly’s legislation, HR 8491which he presented alongside Representatives Brett Guthrie (KY-2) and David Valadao (CA-21).
HR 8491 would permanently expand the list of eligible practitioners who provide telehealth services to include qualified physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists and audiologists. Currently, these practitioners do not have permanent authorization to provide electronic or virtual care to their patients.
Families have been using telehealth since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, many of the authorities behind this care expire with the declaration of a public health emergency. Congress must act to preserve these authorities so that families, especially in rural and underserved areas, have equal access to world-class health care.
“Americans across the country, especially rural areas, have seen the benefits of telehealth services in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Seniors now have the option of seeing their doctor from the comfort of their own home. Families with children have new flexibility to work around their busy lives. Rep. Kelly said. “I am pleased to lead the expansion of these essential services to cover more practitioners who play a vital role in supporting our communities. This bill takes great steps toward providing modern solutions to the future health care needs of our constituents.
“As I said before, the genie came out of the bottle with telehealth after flexibilities were granted and usage expanded significantly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since many patients are now finding telehealth technology beneficial for certain healthcare services, I want to make sure telehealth is here to stay and patients don’t lose access to their healthcare provider overnight once the public health emergency has expired. I am proud to take the necessary steps to make this happen by supporting HR 8491, which would permanently expand the list of practitioners eligible to provide telehealth services,” says Guthrie.
“Many of my constituents in the Central Valley often live miles from health services or do not have adequate transportation to seek treatment or care for their loved ones,” said representative Valadao. “Continued expansion of these essential telehealth services to include more practitioners will facilitate access to healthcare for patients in rural areas. I am proud to lead efforts to ensure these vital services are available to our rural communities even after the pandemic is over. »
- Representative Mike Kelly sits on the Ways and Means Committee and is a leader in telehealth policy.