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Upton, Kennedy ask CMS to encourage states to cover telemedicine services during coronavirus outbreak

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Washington, March 6, 2020 | Josh Paciorek (202-225-3761) | comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Reps. Fred Upton, R-MI, and Joe Kennedy, D-MA, today penned a letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma asking CMS to encourage states to cover all telemedicine services and work with them to expand their capability to do so in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

H.R. 6074, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, will provide $8.3 billion to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and also authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to waive certain Medicare telemedicine geographic restrictions during the coronavirus public health emergency response. This waiver would allow Medicare beneficiaries to receive care via telemedicine in their homes and ensure that people get the necessary services they need while maintaining the public’s health and safety.

Upton and Kennedy would like to ensure Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) recipients are also able to receive telemedicine services. States currently have the ability to authorize such services but many have yet to do so.

“In an effort to contain the spread of coronavirus, it is essential to ensure the ability to perform telemedicine services does not rest solely with Medicare, but also with Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Combined, these programs serve over 71 million Americans,” the members wrote. “Medicaid and CHIP must have the ability and support they need to provide telemedicine services during the coronavirus pandemic.”

The full letter is below and available here.

 

March 6, 2020


The Honorable Seema Verma

Administrator

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

7500 Security Boulevard

Baltimore, MD 21244

 

Dear Administrator Verma,

In response to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 (coronavirus), both chambers of Congress passed H.R. 6074, Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020. Not only did this emergency supplemental approve $8.3 billion to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, but it authorized the Secretary of Health and Human Services to waive certain Medicare telemedicine geographic restrictions during the coronavirus public health emergency response. This waiver would allow Medicare beneficiaries to receive care via telemedicine in their homes and ensure that people get the necessary services they need while maintaining the health and safety of the public’s.

In an effort to contain the spread of coronavirus, it is essential to ensure the ability to perform telemedicine services does not rest solely with Medicare, but also with Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Combined, these programs serve over 71 million Americans.[1] Medicaid and CHIP must have the ability and support they need to provide telemedicine services during the coronavirus pandemic.

States already have the ability to authorize such services, although many have yet to do so. We write to urge you to encourage each state to cover all telemedicine services and work with them to expand their capability to do so. We need to ensure that everyone remain safe during this emergency and are also able to get any and all health care services they need when they need it.

 

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