New Legislation Would Enhance Access to Telehealth Services in Medicare

October 31, 2019

Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Roger Wicker (R-MS), along with Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Dave Schweikert (R-AZ) have introduced the Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) for Health Act of 2019 (H.R. 4932/S. 2741) to increase access to telehealth services, including those provided by audiologists and speech-language pathologists (SLPs), for Medicare beneficiaries. The bill, which ASHA has endorsed, is designed to eliminate barriers that block health care professionals from providing safe, effective, and high-quality health care services to seniors, particularly in rural and medically underserved areas. 

Contact your members of Congress today and ask them to cosponsor the CONNECT for Health Act of 2019 (H.R. 4932/S. 2741).

Background

Currently, Medicare doesn’t recognize audiologists and SLPs as eligible telehealth providers. The CONNECT for Health Act contains two key provisions relevant to audiologists and SLPs. One would authorize the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to waive restrictions on the types of providers who can provide telehealth services. The second provision establishes demonstration programs that could allow additional health professionals—such as audiologists and SLPs—to provide telehealth services. 

Questions?

Contact Jerry White, ASHA’s director of federal affairs, health care, at jwhite@asha.org.


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