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Rep. Ron Kind Announces Support for Bipartisan Legislation to Expand and Improve Access to Telehealth

September 9, 2020
Press Release

La Crosse, WI – Today, Rep. Ron Kind announced his support for the Protecting Access to Post-COVID-19 Telehealth Act, bipartisan legislation that will expand and improve Wisconsinites’ access to telehealth services under Medicare. This bill will continue the expanded use of telehealth beyond the COVID-19 crisis by eliminating restrictions on its use in Medicare, providing a bridge for patients currently using these services due to the pandemic and requiring a study on the use of telehealth during COVID-19.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth has served as a vital tool for patients and providers across Wisconsin,” said Rep. Ron Kind. “Telehealth services are not only effective, they’re essential to ensuring all Wisconsinites can access quality care regardless of where they live or their ability to see a provider in person. I’m proud to support this commonsense legislation to build on the progress made and permanently expand telehealth services to Medicare beneficiaries.”

“WHA strongly supports Congress acting swiftly to make the telehealth flexibilities granted under COVID permanent,” said Eric Borgerding, Wisconsin Hospital Association President and CEO. “The Protecting Access to Post-COVID-19 Telehealth Act will ensure that Wisconsin seniors on Medicare will continue to have the option of accessing the health care they depend on in a way that is most convenient for them.”

“Rural Wisconsin needs Congress to make permanent the telehealth flexibilities granted under COVID,” said Tim Size, Executive Director of the Rural WI Health Cooperative. “Telehealth has proven to be convenient and cost-effective for patients, particularly if we can continue to expand rural broadband. The Protecting Access to Post-COVID-19 Telehealth Act is a much appreciated step forward.”

Telehealth services covered by Medicare were expanded earlier this year in order to allow individuals to continue to access health care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under current law, these telehealth expansions will be removed at the end of the public health emergency. The Protecting Access to Post-COVID-19 Telehealth Act would extend telehealth expansions for 90 days beyond the public health emergency and permanently expand coverage to ensure seniors can receive telehealth from their home and providers will be reimbursed for their services. The bill also requires a study on the use of telehealth during COVID-19, including its cost, health outcomes, and racial and geographic disparities.

Rep. Kind is a member of the Health Subcommittee on the Ways and Means Committee, the most powerful - and the oldest - committee in the House of Representatives. It has jurisdiction over tax measures, the management of public debt, trade and tariff laws, Social Security, Medicare, pensions, and many other economic growth measures.