WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), along with a bipartisan group of House and Senate colleagues, has called for an extension of previously expanded telehealth services to be included in Congress’ must-pass government funding legislation in February.
“Telehealth has provided people in Wyoming with a real solution to some of the problems we have with limited healthcare access in our rural communities,”Senator Lummis said. “What we’ve learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is that we not only needed to, but could, bring even more of our healthcare services into the 21st century through telehealth, and I’m proud to join my colleagues in calling to make this kind of expanded Medicare access permanent.”
Provisions that allowed Medicare beneficiaries across the country to use telehealth services and expand the types of medical professionals who can provide telehealth were included in previous COVID-19 relief legislation. These provisions are set to expire after the pandemic unless congressional leaders act to extend the measures or make them permanent.
Telehealth services are essential in rural states like Wyoming, where many residents lack access to nearby healthcare providers.
The 47 lawmakers, led by U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Roger Wicker (R-MS), sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) calling for these expanded telehealth services to be extended.
“We strongly support permanently expanding Medicare coverage of telehealth and removing other barriers to the use of telehealth because of its ability to expand access to care, reduce costs, and improve health outcomes. While Congress prepares to enact permanent telehealth legislation, we urge you to include an extension of the pandemic telehealth authorities in must-pass government funding legislation in February,” the lawmakers wrote.
The full text of the letter is available here.