November 12, 2020

Home Health Champions Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Ensure Access to Telehealth

Recently, a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House and the Senate introduced the Home Health Emergency Access to Telehealth (HEAT) Act, legislation to protect Medicare beneficiaries’ access to home health via telehealth. If passed, the legislation would reimburse home health agencies for telehealth services furnished during the COVID-19 emergency and any future public health emergencies.

Introduced by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Representatives Roger Marshall (R-KS), Terri Sewell (D-AL), Jodey Arrington (R-TX), and Mike Thompson (D-CA), the HEAT Act would authorize Medicare reimbursement for home health services provided, but articulates that services will not be reimbursed unless the beneficiary consents to receive home care services using telehealth.

Home health is critical for both post-hospitalization recovery and chronic illness management for American’s elderly and disabled communities. By utilizing telehealth capabilities, it is also uniquely poised to overcome the challenges created by COVID-19 as it involves limited contact and keeps patients safe in their homes. We applaud these home health champions for introducing this important legislation and for their ongoing and steadfast support for home health. It’s especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, as home health has become an even more important lifeline for America’s disabled and elderly communities.