The Senate is considering S. 3988, a bill that could help the federal government track, maintain and improve the country’s ability to provide health care through telehealth systems.
One part of the proposed “Enhancing Preparedness through Telehealth Act” bill calls for the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to report to Congress every five years on any insurance coverage issues that might affect people’s access to telehealth services in an emergency.
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., has introduced the bill with Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska; Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn.; and Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala.
- The S. 3988 Congress.gov tracking page is available here.
- A preliminary version of the text is available here.
- An article about the new emphasis on telehealth benefits is available here.
The main section of the bill would have the HHS secretary inventory the country’s telehealth programs and telehealth infrastructure every five years.
The HHS secretary would have to give Congress a report that would address matters such as the location of networks, the capacity of existing telehealth initiatives to handle an increase in patient volume in a public health emergency, and mechanisms that could help telehealth services expand quickly in response to a public health emergency.
Members of Congress have also introduced three other telehealth bills with bipartisan support.