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U.S. lawmakers introduce legislation to expand Telehealth

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker introduced bipartisan legislation to increase the use of Telehealth and remote patient monitoring through Medicare in order to help lower costs for patients and providers. 

The legislation creates The Creating Opportunities for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies for Health Act of 2017 (CONNECT for Health Act). It was designed to build on evidence that telehealth and remote patient monitoring would improve care while reducing hospitalizations.

“Missisippi is a national leader in demonstrating how telehealth can successfully bring health care to people in their communities, often providing life-saving care that otherwise would not be available. The bipartisan CONNECT for Health Act is intended to use Mississippi’s good example to expand telehealth services nationwide,” said Cochran. “I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues in this important issue.”

“The legislation seeks to harness the promise of American technology and innovation to lower costs and improve the quality of care for Medicare patients,” said Wicker.

The legislation aims to do the following:

  • Expand the use of telehealth in accountable care organizations, for home dialysis therapy, for the evaluation of an acute stroke, and in Medicare Advantage;
  • Expand the use of remote patient monitoring for certain patients with chronic conditions;
  • Increase telehealth and remote patient monitoring services in community health centers and rural health clinics, Native American sites, and in global and bundled payments;
  • Provide direct authority to the HHS secretary to lift existing restrictions on telehealth when certain quality and cost-effectiveness criteria are met; and
  • Expand the use of tele-mental health services, such as psychiatric consults using live, audio-video connections.


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