The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) indicated this week that extending many of the newly waived restrictions on telehealth beyond the pandemic would likely require an act of Congress. To date, the agency has issued numerous waivers and multiple rules to ease regulatory burdens during the COVID-19 pandemic, including many aimed at increasing the use of telehealth in Medicare. CMS Administrator Seema Verma
previously noted CMS is looking at what regulatory changes could continue after the end of the health emergency, but indicated that some changes like expanded provider eligibility to be paid by Medicare for telehealth, and payment of facility fees when beneficiaries access telehealth from their homes, would require Congress to step in. Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley
(IA) has expressed a desire to look into expanding successful aspects of telehealth beyond the pandemic, but no substantive legislation has yet gained traction. Complicating matters, some of his Republican colleagues have expressed concerns with state licensing issues that could affect providers’ abilities to work across state lines via telehealth.
NASS has pressed lawmakers to extend the COVID-19 telehealth waivers. You can take ask your federal representation to weigh in via the NASS Legislative Action Center