Last week, the White House hosted a virtual “Roundtable Discussion on Embracing Technology and Telehealth” with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma, Director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation and Deputy Assistant to the President Brad Smith, and healthcare leaders from across the country.
At the event, the White House launched the Pledge to Embrace Technology to Advance America’s Health in order to reassure patients, providers, and payers that telehealth is here to stay and will be covered over the long term. The response has been incredible, and already more than 50 of America’s leading healthcare stakeholders have enthusiastically committed to continue the expansion of telehealth coverage and adoption.
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From launching a nationwide rollout of upgraded telehealth technology at the United States Department of Veterans Affairs in 2017, to modernizing Medicare payment, to supporting new technology in 2019, the Trump Administration has prioritized telehealth innovation from day one. These important reforms laid the foundation for the critical role that telehealth solutions have played during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Administration’s quick actions during the public health emergency, including new flexibility regarding what services may be provided via telehealth, where these services may be provided, and who may provide those services, have resulted in a 4300 percent nationwide increase in telehealth utilization from pre-pandemic levels—protecting Americans seeking care, and their healthcare providers, across the country. Importantly, recent analysis by CMS indicates that this expansion of telehealth services is likely to be a permanent feature of America’s healthcare delivery systems.
Recognizing this important transformation in patient care, on August 3 the President signed an Executive Order on Improving Rural Health and Telehealth Access, directing his Administration to appropriately extend the additional telehealth services offered to Medicare beneficiaries beyond the public health emergency. Consistent with that directive, CMS has already proposed changes to expand telehealth permanently.
To build on this momentum, the Pledge calls on healthcare insurers to commit to expanding flexible and affordable telehealth options, and on healthcare providers to accelerate the adoption of telehealth solutions. Working with the Administration, this pro-innovation private sector commitment will empower all Americans to choose the healthcare team that is right for them and receive affordable care more tailored to their own personal needs.
“The onset of COVID-19 has challenged our Nation and the world to rethink the future of healthcare delivery. The Trump Administration is advancing our Nation’s health through a shared public and private sector commitment to emerging technologies that make high quality healthcare more accessible for all Americans,” U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios said.