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Congress Seeks to Extend Telehealth Flexibilities and Expand Reimbursement

In May 2024, the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health advanced the Telehealth Modernization Act of 2024 (H.R. 7623) with the goal of extending several Medicare telehealth flexibilities through 2026. This most recent bill comes after nearly two dozen other bills proposed by the Subcommittee to strengthen access to healthcare. The bill primarily seeks to maintain Medicare’s hospital-at-home program through 2029 in order to provide continued resources for at-home care for patients requiring acute-level care. The bill also aims to remove the geographic originating site restrictions on telehealth visits through 2026. Unless this bill or similar legislation is passed, the programs will expire at the end of 2024.

Notably, the bill would also provide broader discretion to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to expand the types of practitioners who may furnish reimbursable telehealth services. This would create the potential for any healthcare provider who bills the Medicare program to be eligible to provide telehealth services. Further, the bill would enable HHS to maintain an expanded list of reimbursable telehealth services, including after the existing telehealth flexibilities expire.

Additionally, the bill would specifically benefit patients located in rural areas by allowing greater resources to be allocated toward rural health clinics providing telehealth services. As the current bill reads, Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics would permanently be able to provide telehealth services and receive reimbursements in those settings. Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics create a critical safety-net of primary care providers for underserved populations. Permitting these types of providers to furnish telehealth services as distant sites would play a major role in expanding and maintain access to care in underserved and rural communities, and would further promote continuity of care in those communities.

The bill must still pass in both the House and Senate before it may become final. Providers should closely track the bill’s progress. Without the passage of this bill in 2024, the telehealth flexibilities that arose out of the COVID-19 public health emergency may come to an end. Providers should be cognizant of the potential compliance ramifications, and be prepared to adjust their telehealth services and billing practices in the event the flexibilities expire. At the same time, if the bill is enacted, providers may also posit themselves to take full advantage of the increased flexibilities and potentially expand telehealth service offerings.

For over 35 years, Wachler & Associates has represented healthcare providers and suppliers nationwide in a variety of health law matters, and our attorneys can assist providers and suppliers in understanding new developments in healthcare law and regulation. If you or your healthcare entity has any questions pertaining to Medicare compliance or healthcare compliance, please contact an experienced healthcare attorney at 248-544-0888 or

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