House Passes Legislation to Extend Medicare Telehealth Flexibilities Through 2024

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

This week, the House voted overwhelmingly in support of the Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act of 2022 (H.R. 4040). The legislation targets many of the key temporary Medicare telehealth flexibilities that are currently extended for 151 days past the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE), per the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 (CAA) enacted in March.

If passed in the Senate, this bill would extend the following Medicare telehealth flexibilities through December 31, 2024:

  • Removing geographic requirements and expanding originating sites for telehealth services to enable beneficiaries in both rural and non-rural communities to receive telehealth services from their home or any other location
  • Expanding the list of telehealth-eligible providers to include qualified occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech-language therapists and audiologists
  • Delaying in-person visit requirements for the delivery of mental health services via telehealth, including those furnished by rural health clinics and federally qualified health clinics
  • Including audio-only as a covered telehealth modality
  • Allowing the use of telehealth to conduct a face-to-face encounter prior to recertification of eligibility for hospice care

The legislation will now advance to the Senate, where it is similarly expected to receive strong support, though timing of such consideration remains unknown given a crowded legislative calendar. While some stakeholders and members of Congress expressed disappointment that Congress will not advance a permanent extension of these PHE-enabled telehealth practices, this legislation is expected to allow Congress more time both to consider permanent telehealth reform and to reach agreement on bipartisan offsets to pay for the costs of permanently extending these telehealth practices.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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