Senate Finance Committee Discusses Telehealth Expansion Post-PHE

On May 19, 2021, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing entitled: COVID-19 Health Care Flexibilities: Perspectives, Experiences, and Lessons Learned. The purpose of the hearing was to evaluate the COVID-19 healthcare-related flexibilities issued during the pandemic and how each of the flexibilities have been effective in supporting patients and providers during the pandemic. Many of the flexibilities issued by agencies and Congress are tied to the public health emergency (PHE), and once the declared PHE ends, the flexibilities will expire. This hearing is the first step Congress is taking to explore which flexibilities should be made permanent.

The hearing largely focused on the impact of telehealth and Hospital at Home waivers during the pandemic. During the hearing, numerous Senators expressed interest in expanding telehealth waivers beyond the pandemic. The importance of audio-only services was also discussed at length, especially in the context of reducing health disparities for those living in areas without broadband access. Overall, the Senators were supportive of exploring the role of telehealth in the US healthcare system beyond the pandemic.

Stay up-to-date on COVID-19 emerging issues through the McDermottPlus Coronavirus Resource Center or the McDermott, Will & Emery Coronavirus Resource Center.

 


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