06 March 2020 – Expanded access to telemedicine

Intervention Categories: Finance policy and financial aid; Financial aid to health services
Level of Jurisdiction: Federal

Overview: The U.S. Congress funded $500 million in mandatory Medicare telehealth spending through the Department of Health and Human Services to enable telemedicine provision for seniors, as part of the phase 1 legislation.

Phase 3 legislation expanded access to telemedicine by directing Medicare to pay doctors at the same rate for telehealth compared to in-person visits until the end of the public health emergency and allowing all patients to receive telehealth care. Previously, telehealth was only available to those in rural areas.

In addition, the legislation expanded the range of services doctors are able to provide via telemedicine, including emergency visits, and allowed doctors to prescribe controlled substances via telehealth during the pandemic.
Full details here: https://www.kff.org/global-health-policy/issue-brief/the-u-s-response-to-coronavirus-summary-of-the-coronavirus-preparedness-and-response-supplemental-appropriations-act-2020/