Thompson’s bill would make telehealth services an allowable Medicare cost

U.S. Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) on June 11 introduced a bipartisan bill that would make Medicare payments permanent for any telehealth services furnished by federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics.

Specifically, Rep. Thompson sponsored the Helping Ensure Access to Local TeleHealth (HEALTH) Act of 2020, H.R. 7187, with lead cosponsor U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) to codify Medicare reimbursement for community health centers and rural health clinics for telehealth services.

“The HEALTH Act will cut red tape and provide community health centers and rural health clinics the ability to offer these vital services to their patients on a more permanent basis,” Rep. Thompson said. “As a lifetime resident of rural Pennsylvania and having spent nearly three decades as a therapist and licensed nursing home administrator, I have been amazed at how telehealth services make life easier for rural and underserved communities — particularly older Americans.”

Rep. Butterfield added that access to telehealth services has become a critical necessity in America. “All patients, particularly our Medicare recipients, are in need of a solution to ensure access to telehealth services are free from undue barriers and restrictions,” he said.

The bill is supported by the National Association of Community Health Centers, the Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers, and the North Carolina Community Health Center Association.