WASHINGTON -- Last week, Energy & Commerce Telehealth Working Group members Congressman Bill Johnson (R-Marietta) and Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA) introduced the Evidence-Based Telehealth Expansion Act of 2017, which would encourage the use of telemedicine in the Medicare program:

"This legislation would expand access to greatly needed telehealth services in Eastern and Southeastern Ohio," said Congressman Bill Johnson. "The bill Congresswoman Matsui and I have introduced aims to increase telehealth services through Medicare by removing some of the arbitrary barriers to access currently in place. Increasing access to telehealth isn't a partisan issue; rather, it's a service that has proven to be very beneficial to many rural Americans and it should be expanded. Instead of placing restrictions on telehealth coverage through Medicare, we need to do the opposite and allow for more people the opportunity to utilize this emerging technology. The legislation we introduced today does just that."

"We need to harness the power of technology to get care to people efficiently and empower them to manage their chronic conditions," said Congresswoman Matsui. "This legislation helps ensure that we're integrating telehealth into the healthcare system in a cost-effective and patient-centered way. I'm pleased to work with Congressman Johnson on this legislation as part of our overall efforts to expand access to telemedicine."

The Evidence-Based Telehealth Expansion Act of 2017 would allow the Secretary of HHS to review existing services in the Medicare program to determine which are appropriate for telehealth, and waive existing restrictions on those services. The Secretary would ensure that the service delivered via telehealth would either reduce spending while maintaining quality or improve quality without increasing costs.