House Ways and Means Hearing on Rural Health access 3.12.24

On March 12, 2024, the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing titled “Enhancing Access to Care at Home in Rural and Underserved Communities.” Though initially previewed to focus on the Hospital at Home model, the hearing centered entirely on telehealth. Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) highlighted the benefits of telehealth in his opening statement, while Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA) discussed the healthcare achievements of the Biden administration over the past four years. Witnesses included patients, healthcare providers, and policy experts who emphasized telehealth’s potential in rural communities and addressed challenges such as internet access, alternative sites for telehealth, and ensuring patient adherence to treatment regimens.

The hearing also covered Medicare and private plan payments and regulations for telehealth, suggesting payment parity with urban settings and financial incentives for telehealth clinicians. Discussions highlighted the need for changes in Medicare policies requiring a nurse’s presence for at-home infusion services and streamlining multi-state credentialing for care providers. The bipartisan nature of the hearing underscored a shared commitment to revisiting the topic and enhancing healthcare access in rural and underserved communities.

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