Representatives John Curtis (R-UT) and Joe Neguse (D-CO) introduced the “Telehealth Innovation and Improvement Act” (H.R 4013) on July 25 to encourage telehealth innovation and promote expanded access to healthcare services in rural and urban areas through telehealth and digital services. Currently, Medicare covers limited telehealth services, which is discouraging innovation and restricting access to specialized care.
The legislation would require HHS to allow eligible hospitals to apply to test expanded telehealth delivery models through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation Center. The legislation would direct HHS to review telehealth models through an independent evaluator for cost, effectiveness, and improvement in quality of care without increasing the cost of healthcare delivery.
If the telehealth model can show that the model improves quality of care without increasing spending or decreases Medicare spending then the telehealth model will be covered through the Medicare program.
In March 2019, similar legislation “Telehealth Innovation and Improvement Act of 2019” sponsored by Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Gary Peters (D-MI) was introduced in the Senate March 2019.