Permanently Expanding Access to Telehealth Services for Rural America

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Permanently Expanding Access to Telehealth Services for Rural America

June 08, 2024 - 14:48
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I, along with Reps. Greg Murphy, M.D. (NC-03), Michael Burgess (TX-26), and Troy Nehls (TX-22) introduced legislation to permanently extend telehealth services for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs).

Current Medicare telehealth flexibilities for FQHCs and RHCs, previously extended by Congress under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, expire on December 31, 2024. In 2020, 35.9% of Medicare claims rendered by FQHCs and RHCs included a telehealth service, allowing millions of individuals in medically underserved communities access to behavioral health and non-behavioral health services.

Rural communities, like those in Wisconsin’s Third District, are routinely left on the sidelines when it comes to accessible health care. We recently had multiple hospitals in the rural parts of the district shut down with little notice, and now many of my constituents are without nearby medical services. Expanding telehealth access is an important step in bridging the gap between rural and urban communities and helps ensure that folks, no matter where they are, can receive safe, quality care.

“After practicing medicine in rural eastern North Carolina for the last 25 years, I know that many patients have to travel hours to access healthcare," said Congressman Murphy, M.D. "They face significant burdens in cost as well as time away from work. Telehealth services are critical for these rural communities who live far from clinics and hospitals. We saw how beneficial this valuable service was for folks during the pandemic and it should continue to be available for all Americans. I’m proud to spearhead this effort and am committed to advocating for this commonsense policy alongside my colleagues.”

“Access to telehealth services is a critical need for Americans, especially in rural and underserved areas of Texas,” said Congressman Burgess. “Expanding telehealth in our community will allow patients to receive quality care in an efficient manner, no matter their location. With technological innovations improving by the day, telehealth is the next step in ensuring the wellbeing of all American patients are prioritized in our health care system. I am looking forward to working with Representatives Murphy, Nehls, and Van Orden in getting this legislation across the House of Representatives floor.”

“Telehealth has revolutionized our nation’s healthcare system to meet the American people’s healthcare needs, particularly in rural and medically underserved communities, such as the 22nd Congressional District of Texas,” said Congressman Nehls. “I am proud to join my colleagues to make the extension of telehealth services for Federally Qualified Health Clinics and Rural Health Clinics permanent to continue providing immediate and increased access to essential healthcare services for millions of American patients nationwide.”

Read the bill text here

There is 1 Comment

During Covid, I had a serious issue with my arm. I did a televisit and my doctor, watched me try to move my arm and then said you have this issue and you can fix that by doing this exercise. Well, I was polite and knew the doctor had no idea what the problem was, but my wife told me to do those exercises and sure enough it got better in two days. That was after a couple of months of severe pain. So this is a great development!

Thank you Derrick

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