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Schatz Legislation Extending Expanded Telehealth Services Set To Become Law

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) secured the inclusion of provisions to the FY23 government funding bill that will temporarily extend access to expanded telehealth services. The provisions, which are from the Schatz-authored Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) for Health Act, allow Medicare beneficiaries in all areas of the country to utilize telehealth services in their homes and allow more types of health care providers to provide telehealth. The bill passed the Senate today and is expected to pass the House of Representatives and be signed into law by the end of the week.

“The last few years have proven that telehealth works. It has made it easier and safer for people to see their doctors and stay healthy,” said Senator Schatz. “While this extension is helpful, these changes should be made permanent. It’s time to pass the CONNECT for Health Act.”

Expanded access of telehealth services was first made available in response to the COVID-19 pandemic but was limited to the emergency period. The two-year extension contains provisions from Senator Schatz’s CONNECT for Health Act, including:

  • Removing geographic restrictions on telehealth services and allowing Medicare beneficiaries to access virtual care from their homes; and
  • Allowing health centers and rural health clinics to provide telehealth services.

The two-year telehealth extension follows a letter led by Senator Schatz earlier this month that called on congressional leaders to extend expanded coverage of telehealth services in this must-pass legislation.

Schatz’s bipartisan and bicameral CONNECT for Health Act was first introduced in 2016. The bill, which is cosponsored by 64 senators, is considered the most comprehensive telehealth legislation in Congress.