12.02.15

Gardner Introduces Bill To Expand Access To Care, Telehealth Services

Washington, DC – Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Gary Peters (D-MI) today introduced the Telehealth Innovation and Improvement Act, legislation that would expand access to health care in rural areas by paving the way for Medicare to cover additional telehealth services. Currently, Medicare covers limited telehealth services, setting a poor industry standard, discouraging innovation, and restricting access to specialized services.

The Telehealth Innovation and Improvement Act requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to allow eligible hospitals to test telehealth services through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMI). Additionally, it directs CMI to review and independently evaluate telehealth models for cost, effectiveness, and improvement in quality of care without increasing the cost of delivery. If the telehealth model meets this criteria, then the model will be covered through the greater Medicare program.

“People living in rural Colorado should have access to the same health care services as those living in urban areas,” said Senator Gardner. "Telemedicine has the power to increase access to specialized services in underserved communities, and potentially lower costs and improve patient outcomes. The Telehealth Innovation and Improvement Act would pave the way for Medicare to expand coverage to additional telehealth services, and potentially provide those living with life-threatening conditions in rural America with more opportunities and more options to receive the care they need. At the same time, this legislation would incentivize the industry to develop cutting edge technology that could revolutionize health care delivery. As we work toward a health care system that lowers costs and increases choices for consumers, it is important that we advance commonsense legislation like the Telehealth Innovation and Improvement Act to achieve those goals." 

“Telehealth has revolutionized healthcare, helping more patients receive life-saving treatment, and we must ensure that people living in rural areas have equal access to the care they need,” said Senator Peters. “I’m proud to join Senator Gardner in introducing this bipartisan, commonsense legislation that takes important steps to modernize Medicare, expand access to quality care for all seniors and improve patient outcomes.” 

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Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.