Comment Letter

Neurosurgery Urges Senate to Act on Telehealth legislation

  • Reimbursement and Practice Management
  • The Honorable Charles Schumer
    Majority Leader
    United States Senate
    Washington, DC 20510
  • The Honorable Mitch McConnell
    Minority Leader
    United States Senate
    Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senators Schumer and McConnell:

Thank you for your continued leadership in expanding access to virtual care during the COVID19 public health emergency (PHE). This access has been transformational – patients now expect and often prefer telehealth as a key component of our health care system and providers have been
able to reach many patients who previously had access barriers through virtual care.

These opportunities were made possible by the flexibilities and waivers under the current PHE. However, at the end of the COVID-19 PHE period, the clock begins to tick on the current 151- day statutory extension of telehealth waivers. While we appreciate these temporary extensions, the short-term nature continues to introduce significant uncertainty into our health care system. Providers must weigh the costs of investing in the technological and clinical infrastructure required to maintain telehealth programs at scale against the uncertainty of when these telehealth policies may end. Further, patients who utilize telehealth as part of their care plan face the possibility of a forced return to in-person care. This is particularly concerning for those utilizing telehealth to reach experts at longer distances, for access to mental and behavioral health
practitioners, and those receiving ongoing remote care for chronic conditions.

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