H.R. 4480 - Telehealth Coverage and Payment Parity Act

H.R. 4480, the Telehealth Coverage and Payment Parity Act, was introduced on July 16, 2021 by Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN-3). The bill has one cosponsor. The bill would require group health plans and health insurance issuers offering group or individual health insurance coverage to cover telehealth services if the same services would be covered if furnished in-person. Group health plans and insurers would be required to provide benefits under the same terms and with the same cost-sharing requirements as would apply to in-person services, and pay providers the same amount for telehealth as for in-person services. Also, group health plans and insurers could not require that the provider have a prior relationship with the patient, or establish incentives or penalties to discourage telehealth. Group health plans and insurers could waive cost-sharing requirements for diagnosis or treatment of COVID-19. The bill would also expand the definition of "qualifying telecommunications system" to include audio-only communications.

H.R. 1205 would authorize grants to improve mental health access from the ER

H.R. 1205, the "Improving Mental Health Access from the Emergency Department Act of 2021", was introduced by Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA-36).  It passed the House on May 12, 2021.  This Act would authorize grants to health providers that operate emergency departments, are staffed by medical personnel capable of providing treatment to stabilize acute mental health conditions, and have arrangements in place with other providers of care to provide treatment of acute mental health episodes.  The grants would be used to create, support or expand programs to assist patients treated for acute mental health episodes to transition to an appropriate facility or setting for follow-on care.  Grants could be used for alternative approaches such as telepsychiatry and proactive followup such as telemedicine.

H.R. 2980 - Cybersecurity Vulnerability Remediation Act

The Cybersecurity Vulnerability Remediation Act was introduced by Rep. Jackson Lee (D-TX-18) and authorizes the Director of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to identify and disseminate protocols to mitigate cybersecurity vulnerabilities to information systems and industrial control systems, including in circumstances where vulnerabilities exist because software or hardware is no longer supported by a vendor. DHS is to report on how disclosures of cybersecurity vulnerabilities are coordinated, including a description of how privacy and civil liberties are preserved in the collection of vulnerability disclosures. HR. 2980 passed the House of Representatives on July 20, 2021.

S. 658 - National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium Act of 2021

The National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium Act of 2021 was introduced by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) with two cosponsors. The bill would authorize the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to work with a consortium composed primarily of nonprofit entities, including academic institutions, to support efforts to address cybersecurity risks. This would include conducting cross-sector cybersecurity training and simulation exercises for entities, including critical infrastructure owners and operators, and incorporating cybersecurity risk prevention into state and local emergency plans. DHS is to conduct outreach to universities and colleges, including minority-serving institutions, to support this initiative. S. 658 passed the Senate on July 15, 2021.

S. 2061 and HR 4058 - Telemental Health Care Access Act

The Telemental Health Care Access Act of 2021 was introduced in the Senate on June 15, 2021 by Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA).  The bill would amend Title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for coverage of mental health services furnished through telehealth.  It has three cosponsors.  The corresponding House bill was introduced on June 22, 2021 by Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA-16) and has seven cosponsors.

Protecting Rural Telehealth Access Act - S.1988

The Protecting Rural Telehealth Access Act was introduced on June 9, 2021 by Senator Joe Manchin III (D-WV). The bill currently has eight cosponsors. The bill would amend the Social Security Act to eliminate geographic restrictions for originating sites for telehealth services and permit telehealth services to be furnished in the home. It would provide telehealth flexibilities for critical access hospitals, federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics. It also would permit use of audio-only telehealth for providing evaluation and management services, behavioral health counseling and educational services, and other services determined appropriate by the Department of Health & Human Services.

H.R. 4043 would require Medicare to cover breakthrough devices

H.R. 4043 was introduced on June 22, 2021 by Congresswoman S. DelBene (D-Wash).  The bill would amend Title XVIII of the Social Security Act to ensure prompt coverage of breakthrough devices.  The bill has fourteen cosponsors.  

 

H.R. 4043 would establish a transitional coverage period for breakthrough devices beginning on the date of approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and ending four years after the date on which the Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS) updates the relevant payment system to recognize the codes assigned to the breakthrough device.  HHS would be required to assign a unique code for purposes of coverage and payment for the breakthrough device within three months of FDA approval.  Within one year after FDA approval, HHS would be required to identify whether additional data or evidence is required with respect to defining the indications for the device.  Within two years, HHS shall develop a proposal for coverage for specific indications; if no such proposal is developed, then the device would be covered for all indications for which the device was approved by the FDA.

 

As we previously reported, regulations providing for Medicare coverage of breakthrough devices have been pushed back to December 15, 2021.

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