With re-introduction of the CONNECT for Health Act in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives earlier this month, Congress is demonstrating, post-pandemic, its strong interest and support for continuing the widespread implementation and use of telemedicine in both inpatient and outpatient settings.
The bill would amend the Social Security Act to:
- 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 healthcare professionals to use telehealth services.
- Remove in-person visit requirements 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, how it impacts quality of care, and how it can be improved to support patients and healthcare providers.
“Acute telemedicine is breaking down barriers to specialty care every day across country,” said Chris Gallagher, M.D., CEO, Access TeleCare. “The pace of implementation and use has been rapid, and Congress is to be commended for prioritizing legislation to support smart adoption that keeps front and center patient access and care availability.”
The CONNECT Act was first introduced in 2016 and was re-introduced in 2021. The current version has 60 bipartisan Senate co-sponsors.