Better Medicare Alliance, More than 30 Health Care Leaders Tell Congress: Support Audio-Only Telehealth
U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Physical Therapy Association, LeadingAge, Ascension, and others join BMA-led letter supporting bipartisan legislation allowing audio-only telehealth for risk adjustment in Medicare Advantage
Washington, D.C. – Better Medicare Alliance, the leading research and advocacy group supporting Medicare Advantage, sent a letter co-signed by 33 organizations from across the health care spectrum announcing support for H.R. 2166/S.150, the Ensuring Parity in Medicare Advantage for Audio-Only Telehealth Act of 2021.
The bipartisan legislation, introduced by Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Tim Scott (R-SC) and Representatives Terri Sewell (D-AL) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), would protect continuity of care for Medicare Advantage beneficiaries during the COVID-19 pandemic by allowing the use of audio-only telehealth for risk adjustment purposes.
The House bill would also allow audio-only telehealth visits for Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) organizations.
In the letter, supported by leading entities such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Ascension, the American Physical Therapy Association, LeadingAge, Visiting Nurse Associations of America, and others, Better Medicare Alliance and its co-signers note, “It is essential that the collection of diagnoses required for risk adjustment be as complete and as accurate as possible. Action by Congress now will … provide relief necessary for Medicare Advantage and PACE organizations, allowing them to continue to provide high quality, affordable care to millions of Medicare beneficiaries.”
Better Medicare Alliance President and CEO Allyson Y. Schwartz remarked on the letter’s diverse roster of co-signers and the growing bipartisan support for audio-only legislation on Capitol Hill, adding:
“Telehealth has been a lifeline for older Americans amid COVID-19, but challenges persist. Limited access to broadband internet, financial constraints and functional limitations are real barriers for many vulnerable Medicare Advantage beneficiaries,” said Schwartz. “Use of audio-only telehealth brings greater equity during the COVID-19 response, as it ensures all seniors have the opportunity to use virtual care options that meet their needs. We thank our bipartisan champions on Capitol Hill for introducing this much-needed legislation and our diverse coalition of health care leaders both within and outside our Alliance for standing with us to bring this measure across the finish line.”
Read the letter HERE.
Additional resources on Better Medicare Alliance’s support of audio-only telehealth:
- Press Release: “Better Medicare Alliance Applauds Introduction of Bipartisan Legislation Supporting Audio-Only Telehealth” (March 2021)
- One-Pager: “2021 Policy Priorities to Support and Strengthen Medicare Advantages” (January 2021)
- Issue Brief: “Audio-Only Telehealth Visits Essential for Use in Medicare Advantage Risk Adjustment” (August 2020)
- Fact Sheet: “Audio-Only Telehealth Essential for Risk Adjustment in Medicare Advantage” (June 2020)