AMGA Calls for Permanent Telehealth Waivers in Senate Committee on Finance Hearing
Eric Wallace, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Nephrology and medical director, University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System Telehealth Program, today testified on behalf of AMGA before the U.S. Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health in a hearing that discussed Medicare's telehealth expansion, which is currently scheduled to end on December 31, 2024.
Washington, DC – Eric Wallace, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Nephrology and medical director, University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System Telehealth Program, today testified on behalf of AMGA before the U.S. Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health in a hearing that discussed Medicare's telehealth expansion, which is currently scheduled to end on December 31, 2024. Dr. Wallace and AMGA urged Congress to take action to extend certain COVID-19 telehealth waivers and make telehealth expansion permanent.
During his testimony, Dr. Wallace offered multiple examples of the benefits telehealth has brought his patients and the community. He described how telehealth is crucial to the survival of rural healthcare and the benefits to patients in the communities his organization serves, including saving patient’s gas money, commute time, and time away from work and family.
“Incorporating strategies, including telehealth, is the only way we will be able to organize our healthcare into meaningful systems to deliver equitable care across our vast geographic area in the United States,” said Dr. Wallace.
He called upon Congress to take action to ensure telehealth remains a vital part of healthcare delivery:
• Permanently eliminate geographic restrictions and originating site requirements
• Ensure Medicare payment parity between in-office and telehealth visits permanently
• Continue to cover audio-only visits
• Allow controlled substances that are not Schedule 2 to be prescribed over telehealth
“We must maintain and support telehealth through permanent legislation, as it is critical to the survival of rural health and the future of our healthcare system's ability to deliver equitable care regardless of geography. Itis integral to our ability to deliver on the promise of value-based care,” Dr. Wallace concluded.
AMGA has repeatedly called on Congress to extend certain COVID-19 telehealth waivers, making them permanent, as patients have come to expect and rely on care delivered outside the traditional office setting.
“We appreciate policymakers’ efforts to ensure these telehealth flexibilities remain available,” said Jerry Penso, MD, MBA, AMGA president and chief executive officer. “We are hopeful Dr. Wallace’s testimony will resonate with lawmakers as they consider the future of patient care and the important role telehealth plays in it.”
To read Dr. Wallace’s testimony, please visit the Senate Committee on Finance’s webpage.
AMGA is a trade association leading the transformation of healthcare in America. Representing multispecialty medical groups and integrated systems of care, we advocate, educate, innovate, and empower our members to deliver the next level of high performance health. AMGA is the national voice promoting awareness of our members’ recognized excellence in the delivery of coordinated, high-quality, high-value care. More than 175,000 physicians practice in our member organizations, delivering care to one in three Americans.
AMGA represents medical groups and integrated systems of care. Its diverse membership includes multispecialty medical groups, integrated delivery systems, accountable care organizations, and other entities committed to improving healthcare outcomes. AMGA advocates for the formation of innovative, clinically integrated systems of care that advance population health, enhance patient experience, and reduce healthcare costs. For more information, please visit www.amga.org.
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