Election Brings New Opportunities, Challenges for ATA Members

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ATA Urges Lawmakers to Improve Access to Healthcare

The 116th Congress will have new opportunities to address an issue that enjoys strong bipartisan support and impacts Americans across the country. Telehealth allows Congress and the Administration to work together to improve Americans’ access to healthcare and plays a critical role in solving public health crises, including the opioid epidemic. Members of the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) are eager to build on recent successes, including multiple bipartisan legislative and regulatory initiatives that support the ATA's goals.

Thanks to H.R. 6, the bipartisan opioids legislation passed into law last month, people with substance use disorders will have access to medication-assisted treatment and other substance use disorder services remotely using telehealth. Earlier this year, Congress worked to include provisions in the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA), which CMS is now implementing, to allow Medicare patients access to telestroke and end stage renal disease (ESRD)-related clinical assessments via telehealth. Also due to the BBA, telehealth will be more available in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and Medicare Advantage plans. Lastly, CMS has recently finalized rules to expand access to virtual check-ins and remote evaluation, without the traditional restrictions imposed by section 1834(m) of the Social Security Act.

We still face statutory and regulatory barriers at the federal and state levels that hold us back from providing the full range of services we believe are necessary to advance healthcare for Americans. However, ATA members are working every day to increase access to technology-enabled care. We're hoping to leverage legislative and regulatory progress as we continue to break down barriers that prevent the use of technology to reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes.

About the American Telemedicine Association (ATA)
Established in 1993, ATA is a non-profit, membership-based association located in the greater Washington, DC area. Comprised of a membership network of more than 10,000 industry leaders and healthcare professionals, ATA is the leading telehealth association helping to transform healthcare by improving the quality, equity, and affordability of healthcare delivery throughout the world. To learn more about ATA, visit http://www.americantelemed.org.

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Amy Gaddis
American Telemedicine Association
since: 08/2009
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