WASHINGTON, DC, DECEMBER 20, 2022 – Today, the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) and ATA Action express their gratitude to the U.S. Congress for unveiling a bipartisan, bicameral omnibus appropriations bill that includes a two-year extension for Medicare telehealth provisions put in place during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). The omnibus package also includes a two-year delay in implementing the Medicare telemental health in-person requirement, a two-year extension of the safe harbor to offer telehealth in High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) with Health Savings Account (HSAs), and a two-year extension of the Acute Hospital Care at Home Program. Congress is expected to vote on the omnibus bill and send it to President Biden to be signed into law within the next week.

The omnibus did not include a comparable extension past the end of the PHE of the Ryan Haight in-person waiver for the remote prescription of controlled substances. However, the legislation does include language directing the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to promulgate final regulations specifying the circumstances in which a Special Registration for telemedicine may be issued and the procedure for obtaining the registration.

“The ATA and ATA Action never wavered from our appeal to Congress, to provide stability around the life-saving telehealth flexibilities that have become a relied upon and valued option for healthcare providers and patients. Today, our Congressional telehealth champions on both sides of the aisle came through for the American people and for ATA and ATA Action members, by meeting our plea for more certainty around telehealth access for the next two years, while we continue to work with policymakers to make telehealth access a permanent part of our healthcare delivery for the future,” said Kyle Zebley, senior vice president, public policy, American Telemedicine Association, and executive director, ATA Action. “We asked Congress and they listened. We are truly grateful for their staunch support of telehealth. It’s now time to swiftly bring this bill to the President, for passage into law before year-end.”

“We greatly appreciate Congress including extensions the High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) and Health Savings Account (HSA) telehealth tax provision, giving American workers continued access to needed telehealth coverage without first having to meet annual deductibles, including telemental health services. Further, the extension to the Acute Hospital Care at Home Program ensures continued access to this patient-centered care delivery model that is proving to effectively lower cost of care while improving patient health outcomes and satisfaction.

“The ATA and ATA Action are delivering on our promise, to advocate for permanent access for telehealth services and today marks a significant milestone towards that goal. But the hard work continues, as we persist in pressing telehealth permanency and creating a lasting roadblock to the ‘telehealth cliff.’ Additionally, we will continue to work with Congress and the Biden administration to make sure that a predictable and preventable public health crisis never occurs by giving needed certainty to the huge number of Americans relying on the clinically appropriate care achieved through the Ryan Haight in-person waiver.” 

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. 

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