Expanded Telehealth Access Act Introduced to Make Medicare Therapy Telehealth Permanent

CMS; Part B; Medicare

On June 6, 2023, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers re-introduced the Expanded Telehealth Access Act (H.R.3875) to expand the scope of practitioners eligible for payment for telehealth services under the Medicare program, and for other purposes. If enacted, this will benefit residents in nursing facilities and assisted living residences. Specifically, the legislation would redefine the term telehealth “practitioner” permanently to allow Medicare Part B services rendered via telehealth by physical and occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and audiology qualified professionals working in private offices or facility settings to be reimbursed by Medicare. The legislation would also provide flexibility for the Secretary of Health and Human Services to expand the list of telehealth practitioners through rulemaking.  
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Medicare law did not permit these professionals to be reimbursed for telehealth services. However, during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), coverage was permitted for therapy services furnished by telehealth, and Congress explicitly extended this coverage through the end of 2024 in the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA of 2023) (P.L.117-328), signed on December 29, 2022. 
A press release issued by Rep. Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) and Rep. Diana Harshbarger (TN-01) along with sixteen other bipartisan original cosponsors can be found here.