Rep. Ami Bera says Congress needs to address broadband access for telehealth
Any infrastructure plan passed by Congress should address broadband access for telemedicine, Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif) said at Axios event Thursday.
Why it matters: Virtual doctor's appointments and therapy sessions could be the norm, even as more people get vaccinated, and offices open to patients. But many communities, like Native American tribes, lack access to high-speed internet.
- There is legislation in both the House and Senate that would address audio-only telehealth policies and broadband access.
What they're saying: "Telehealth, telemedicine was great for a lot of folks, but a lot of communities don't actually have broadband and access to those tools," Bera said. "I do think Congress has a role in working with the Biden administration as we put together this infrastructure plan. 'Can we address that broadband access?'"
- "Telehealth remains critical," Bera said. "We have to think about how we make sure that people are getting access to the care that they're receiving. That's going to be an important piece that CMS will also be looking at as we look to make some of these policies more permanent."
- Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services agreed Congress should move. "There are some pieces of telehealth that CMS will have some authority, but Congress is going to need to act on some of the critical pieces to make telehealth permanent."
Watch the full event here.