House could vote this week on bill to extend telehealth flexibilities through 2024

The House of Representatives could vote as early as this week on a bill to extend major flexibilities for telehealth reimbursement through 2024.

The House Rules Committee advanced on Tuesday legislation that preserves vital flexibilities that freed up Medicare reimbursement for telehealth that could go away after this year. The decision is the final hurdle before reaching a House vote as soon as this week.

“Telehealth has been shown to be a convenient and safe way for people to access many types of services when they cannot see their provider in person,” said Rep. Frank Pallone, D-New Jersey, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, during the rules committee hearing Tuesday.

Pallone added that there is a report coming out some time next year looking into the impact of telehealth on care quality and program integrity.

The Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act would ensure waivers to telehealth regulations for originating site and geographic requirements can continue for the foreseeable future. 

At the onset of the pandemic, Congress moved to expand access to telehealth services. Medicare expanded who was eligible to get telehealth reimbursement and added services over the past couple of years that could be furnished via telehealth. 

However, these flexibilities originally were only through the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency, which is currently expected to go away in October but could be renewed again for another 90 days by the Department of Health and Human Services. 

Congress did pass legislation that extended the telehealth flexibilities for another five months after the PHE ends, but the new legislation would make sure it runs through December 2024.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer included the legislation in the floor schedule for this week, the last in which the House will be in session before leaving for the August recess.