AMGA Calls for CMS to Waive Telehealth Restrictions; Commends Congress for Swift Action on Coronavirus
Alexandria, VA – AMGA today recommended the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) immediately exercise its new authority to allow providers to treat suspected coronavirus (COVID-19) cases on a telehealth basis. Based on the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for healthcare providers, telehealth can ensure Medicare patients receive appropriate screening and treatment, while also protecting healthcare providers from unnecessary exposure. In the emergency supplemental appropriations package approved today, Congress appropriately recognized the importance of telehealth as part of the nation’s response to COVID-19 and provided CMS with the authority to waive geographic site-of-service restrictions.
“AMGA members will be on the frontline of treating patients who contract this novel coronavirus, but not every patient should come to the doctor’s office,” said AMGA President and CEO Jerry Penso, M.D., M.B.A. “Instead, we can use telehealth to determine the best course of action for patients. Providers will be able to triage patients and keep some patients home, which will help minimize further spread of the disease.”
Telehealth is an important tool for both providers and patients. While Congress’ action is limited to the current public health emergency, AMGA believes that it demonstrates the underlying flaws in the site-of-services limitations for telehealth services. When reviewing the response to COVID-19, policymakers should recognize that Medicare providers and patients should have the option to avail themselves of the benefits from appropriate telehealth care on a regular basis and permanently remove Medicare’s geographic site-of-service restrictions for telehealth benefits.
AMGA’s full recommendation is available in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.
AMGA is a trade association leading the transformation of health care 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.
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