Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Ron Kind joined a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers in calling to make the telehealth services that were extended during the COVID-19 pandemic to be made permanent. Provisions from the CONNECT for Health Act, which Rep. Kind cosponsored, were included in previous COVID-19 legislation and allowed Medicare beneficiaries across Wisconsin to utilize telehealth services, as well as other types of health care providers to provide telehealth. These provisions will expire following the pandemic unless Congressional leaders act now to make the measures permanent.
“Telehealth has been crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic in helping Wisconsinites to receive the health care services they need while staying safe. Moving forward, it’s critical to ensure communities across Wisconsin–particularly in our rural areas–continue to have access to vital services regardless of where they live, and telehealth helps do just that,” said Rep. Ron Kind. “Telehealth services are effective and are relied upon by patients and providers, but the uncertainty about the long-term future of Medicare telehealth coverage is preventing many organizations from investing fully in telehealth. To that end, it’s critical that we act now to support patients and health care providers during these challenging times and ensure that telehealth remains an option after the pandemic is over.”
In the letter, the lawmakers highlight the growing use and benefits of telehealth during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as patients seek to avoid traveling to hospitals and other providers and instead receive care at home. New data shows that the number of Medicare beneficiaries using telehealth services increased by nearly 13,000 percent in just a month and a half during the pandemic.
Rep. Kind is a member of the Health Subcommittee on the Ways and Means Committee, the most powerful – and the oldest – committee in the House of Representatives. It has jurisdiction over tax measures, the management of public debt, trade and tariff laws, Social Security, Medicare, pensions, and many other economic growth measures.
Read the letter here.