LeadingAge Recommends Medicare Changes to Congressional Telehealth Caucus

Legislation | April 02, 2019 | by Andrea Price-Carter

Responding to the Congressional Telehealth Caucus's request for information, LeadingAge recommended several changes in Medicare policy to expand access to telehealth services and remote monitoring, improve patient outcomes, and control health care costs.

Our recommendations focused on testing new delivery models that address older adults in skilled nursing facilities and improve health outcomes among Medicare beneficiaries living in the community in home-based settings. Specifically, we pointed out the two LeadingAge Center for Aging Services Technology (CAST) demonstrations that would:

  • Waive certain statutory Medicare telehealth requirements, such as rural and originating site restrictions, and allow the patient’s home to be an eligible originating site for administering telehealth services.
  • Allow additional long-term services and supports providers to bill for chronic care and complex care management in broader segments of the Medicare population.

Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA), Peter Welch (D-VT), David Schweikert (R-AZ), and Bill Johnson (R-OH); and Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Roger Wicker (R-MS), John Thune (R-SD), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) co-chair the Congressional Telehealth Caucus. The caucus is beginning to craft legislation to build on the success of the CONNECT Act that was signed into law in 2018. Improvements the caucus is seeking include:

  • Expansion of access to telehealth and remote monitoring, especially in rural or otherwise underserved communities.
  • Improved patient outcomes, whether by expanding access to specialists or other providers or by easing the day-to-day patient experience.
  • Easier and expanded use of existing telehealth and remote monitoring technologies, many of which suffer from low uptake rates.
  • Reduction of healthcare costs for both patients and federal programs, including Medicare.

LeadingAge has taken a leadership role in the development of technological applications in the long-term services and supports field. We will continue working with the Congressional Telehealth Caucus on federal policy changes to promote the availability and use of technology in our field.