On October 30th, the bipartisan CONNECT for Health Act (H.R.4932/S.2741) was introduced in both the House and the Senate.
This legislation seeks to lift current restrictions that providers, including physical therapists, face for coverage of care provided to Medicare beneficiaries via telehealth while also seeking to reduce the financial burden on Medicare by:
- Allowing Medicare enrolled providers or suppliers to be reimbursed for care provided via telehealth when the quality of the care is the same or better and certain cost-effectiveness criteria met. This would enable Medicare enrolled physical therapists to provide qualifying care via telehealth.
- Requiring HHS to review and improve the process for adding telehealth services to those which are covered by Medicare. This could be a path that would enable physical therapists to furnish covered telehealth services to Medicare beneficiaries; and
- Authorizing CMS' Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) models to allow additional health professionals, including physical therapists, to furnish telehealth services.
TAKE ACTION TODAY
Contact your lawmakers (both of your senators and your representative) and ask them to cosponsor the CONNECT for Health Act of 2019 (H.R.4932/S.2741) to expand access, promote cost savings, and ensure quality care in Medicare through the use of telehealth and remote patient monitoring. A one-pager can be found on PPS Advocacy tab.
Send an email and tweet to your lawmakers using these talking points:
- Only a portion of the care physical therapists provide is manual therapy. While the use of telehealth would not wholly replace in-person visits, using telehealth can reduce disparities in care as well as provide high-quality care without increasing costs.
- Studies have shown that physical therapists' use of telehealth for telerehabilitation can result in cost-savings, improved outcomes, increased access, and higher patient satisfaction
- This bipartisan legislation would enable physical therapists to provide assessments, care, and interventions via telehealth-this type of care could prevent falls, reduce functional decline, avoid costly emergency room visits, and reduce hospital admissions as well as readmissions.
- Cosponsor H.R.4932/S.2741 in order to allow PTs to provide quality care to Medicare beneficiaries via telehealth.
Important December bucket list item
This legislation and support from APTA and its members are key to future payment and advocacy in digital practice for PT profession. Please make time on this giving tuesday to support this legislative advocacy in PT profession and contact your legislators. Thank you, Alan Lee.