Post-COVID Telehealth Priorities

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AOSW Joins 430 Organizations Urging Congress to Address ‘Telehealth Cliff’

Chicago - On July 26, 2021, the Association of Oncology Social Work (AOSW) was one of 430 organizations that sent a letter to Congress to urge policymakers to address the “telehealth cliff.” The letter was co-led by the American Telemedicine Association, Alliance for Connected Care, Consumer Technology Association, eHealth Initiative, HIMSS, Health Innovation Alliance, Partnership to Advance Virtual Care, and PCHAlliance. You can read the full letter here.

If Congress does not act before the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE), Medicare beneficiaries will lose access to virtual care options which have become a lifeline to many. The letter calls for Congress to advance permanent telehealth reform focused on specific priorities:

  • Removing arbitrary restrictions on where a patient must be located in order to utilize telehealth services;
  • Ensuring federally qualified health centers, critical access hospitals, and rural health centers can furnish telehealth services;
  • Authorizing the Secretary to allow additional telehealth practitioners, services, and modalities; and
  • Removing restrictions on telemental health services.

Over the pandemic, telehealth has proven to be an efficient and popular tool to deliver high-quality care. Because of this, many providers and health systems have made substantial investments in telehealth. Congress must act now to pass legislation to ensure patients and providers are not left in the lurch with fewer options to address critical health needs.