Connect for Health Act reintroduced with strong bipartisan support in the House and Senate to expand telehealth access
WASHINGTON, DC, JUNE 15, 2023 — The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) and ATA Action issued the following statement, acknowledging the longstanding leadership of U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), who led a bipartisan group of 60 senators, and U.S. Representatives Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), and Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), in reintroducing the Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) for Health Act. The CONNECT for Health Act of 2023 will expand coverage of telehealth services through Medicare, make permanent COVID-19 telehealth flexibilities, improve health outcomes, and make it easier for patients to connect with their doctors.
“Since originally introduced in 2016, the CONNECT for Health Act has envisioned a world where Medicare beneficiaries have access to virtual care services where and when they need them. Today, our esteemed policy champions in Congress reintroduced an updated version of the CONNECT Act, including new and revised provisions that will help more people access telehealth services,” said Kyle Zebley, senior vice president, public policy, the ATA, and executive director, ATA Action. “We are thankful for the leadership and support of Senators Schatz, Wicker and Representatives Thompson, Matsui, Schweikert and Johnson, and the strong group of bipartisan cosponsors of this legislation.
“Telehealth is an issue that has consistently attracted bipartisan, bicameral support and we are very encouraged at the incredibly strong Congressional show of support, to this day. We pledge to continue to engage our members, telehealth stakeholders and our novel Patient Voices for Telehealth Coalition members to help advance this important legislation.”
The updated version of the CONNECT for Health Act would:
- Permanently remove all geographic restrictions on telehealth services and expand originating sites to include the home and other sites
- Permanently allow health centers and rural health clinics to provide telehealth services
- Allow more eligible health care professionals to utilize telehealth services
- Remove unnecessary in-person visit requirement for telemental health services
- Allow for the waiver of telehealth restrictions during public health emergencies
- Require more published data to learn more about how telehealth is being used, impacts of quality of care, and how it can be improved to support patients and health care providers
The full text of the Senate bill is available here.
About ATA Action
ATA Action recognizes that telehealth and virtual care have the potential to transform the healthcare delivery system by improving patient outcomes, enhancing the safety and effectiveness of care, addressing health disparities, and reducing costs. ATA Action is a registered 501c6 company and an affiliated trade organization of the ATA.
About the ATA
As the only organization completely focused on advancing telehealth, the American Telemedicine Association is committed to ensuring that everyone has access to safe, affordable, and appropriate care when and where they need it, enabling the system to do more good for more people. The ATA represents a broad and inclusive member network of leading healthcare delivery systems, academic institutions, technology solution providers and payers, as well as partner organizations and alliances, working to advance industry adoption of telehealth, promote responsible policy, advocate for government and market normalization, and provide education and resources to help integrate virtual care into emerging value-based delivery models.