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 ten 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.

CONNECT for Health Act - S.1512 and H.R. 2903

The Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) for Health Act of 2021 (the "CONNECT for Health Act of 2021"), S. 1512, was introduced on April 29, 2021 by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI). The bill currently has 61 cosponsors. The bill states as the sense of Congress that "health care providers can furnish safe, effective, and high-quality health care services through telehealth", and that barriers to the use of telehealth should be removed. The bill would give authority to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to waive Medicare requirements and limitations on payment for telehealth, if the Secretary of HHS determines that the waiver would not adversely impact quality of care. It also would remove geographic restrictions on telehealth services and permit the patient's home to be an originating site.  It calls for HHS to present an interim report to Congress within 180 days after enactment of the Connect for Health Act on qualitative and quantitative data on the impact of telehealth services, virtual check-ins, remote patient monitoring services and other services furnished through telehealth.

The corresponding House bill is H.R. 2903, introduced by Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA-5).  The bill has 79 cosponsors in the House.

PREVENT DIABETES Act - HR 2807

The "Promoting Responsible and Effective Virtual Experiences through Novel Technology to Deliver Improved Access and Better Engagement with Tested and Evidence-Based Strategies Act", or the "PREVENT DIABETES Act", was introduced by Congressman Tom Rice (R-SC-7) on April 22, 2021. The bill would permit any online or virtual diabetes prevention program that has met the standards for full recognition by the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) Diabetes Prevention Recognition Program to apply for enrollment as a supplier under the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (MDPP). The MDPP is designed to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes for Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with pre-diabetes, and covers a series of structured behavior change interventions. The bill has five co-sponsors.

STAT Act - H.R. 1730

The "Speeding Therapy Access Today Act of 2021", or STAT Act, was introduced on March 10, 2021 by Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL-12). The bill currently has 24 co-sponsors. The STAT Act would require the Department of Health & Human Services to establish the Intercenter Institute on Rare Diseases and Conditions under the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). This Institute would be responsible for coordinating rare disease scientific advancement, including establishing a program to accelerate development of medical products to treat rare diseases or conditions in small populations.

CMS delays rule on covering breakthrough devices until December 15, 2021

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a final rule on May 18, 2021, delaying for a second time the rule on Medicare coverage of innovative technology (MCIT) and definition of "reasonable and necessary". The original rule, published on January 14, 2021, was delayed until March 17, 2021 by an interim final rule. It is now delayed until December 15, 2021.

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