Wicker-Schatz Telehealth Provisions Pass Senate in Bipartisan Two-Year Budget Deal
CHRONIC Care Act, Which Includes Schatz-Wicker Telehealth Legislation, Set to Become Law
February 9, 2018
WASHINGTON – Today, the Senate voted to pass a two-year budget deal that includes the CHRONIC Care Act, legislation with key provisions authored by U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) that will improve access and quality of care for Medicare patients and save taxpayer money.
“Mississippi is a leader in the field of telehealth – increasing access to quality care and cutting costs to reach some of our state’s most rural and vulnerable patients,” Senator Wicker said. “If enacted, the provisions Senator Schatz and I have authored will help many Americans receive the health care they need.”
“Almost every other part of our health system uses technology to improve health and save costs. It’s long past time for Medicare to catch up,” Senator Schatz said. “This legislation will improve health outcomes for Medicare patients, especially those who live in rural areas or have to make a big effort to get to the doctor’s office, and will make sure that Medicare is ready for the future, when telehealth plays an even bigger role in health care. I’m glad that Congress is making a bipartisan effort to make sure no one gets left behind from the promises and benefits telehealth has to offer.”
According to studies, telehealth has been shown to improve care and patient satisfaction while reducing costs. The CHRONIC Care Act lifts outdated restrictions that limit Medicare from reimbursing for telehealth. The telehealth provisions of the CHRONIC Care Act will expand the use of telehealth in accountable care organizations and Medicare Advantage, as well as for home dialysis patients and the evaluation of an acute stroke. In addition to Senators Schatz and Wicker, the telehealth provisions of the CHRONIC Care Act were cosponsored in the CONNECT for Health Act by U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), John Thune (R-S.D.), and Mark Warner (D-Va.).