CQRC backs telehealth bill

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

WASHINGTON – The Council for Quality Respiratory Care, a coalition of home respiratory therapy providers and manufacturing companies, is backing a bill in the House of Representatives that would expand telehealth services to allow RTs to provide services as part of CMS’s Innovation Center alternative payment models. The bill would also authorize CMS to waive geographic and other restrictions for respiratory care services provided in high-need, professional shortage areas. “We commend these lawmakers for supporting home respiratory care access during this time of critical need,” said Crispin Teufel, chairman of the CQRC. “Telehealth-based care empowers patients, especially those living in rural or underserved communities, to receive care for COPD and other respiratory disease where they otherwise might experience barriers to accessing treatment because of lack of specialists or long distances.” The bill, “Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies for Health Act of 2019” or CONNECT, is a companion bill to a Senate bill of the same name introduced late last year. Reps. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, Doris Matsui, D-Calif., Peter Welch, D-Vt., and David Schweikert, R-Ariz., introduced the bill. In the wake of the pandemic, telehealth services have included accessing primary care providers and specialists, including for chronic respiratory conditions; supporting patients managing chronic health conditions; participating in respiratory and other types of therapy; monitoring clinical signs of certain acute and chronic respiratory medical conditions; and improving access to care in rural and other areas where it can be difficult to access providers.