ACC Helps Secure Telehealth Expansion Legislation in Response to COVID-19

An $8.3 billion bipartisan emergency funding package in response to COVID-19 passed the House and Senate this month and has been signed into law by President Trump. Included in the bill: an ACC and American College of Physicians (ACP) supported measure that would increase access to telemedicine services and protect vulnerable patient populations during the COVID-19 emergency.

Specifically, the legislation waives restrictive originating site requirements included in the current Medicare telehealth program for the treatment of existing patients (seen in the last three years) inside designated emergency areas. It also allows the use of telephones with audio/visual capabilities to be used to execute telehealth services.

In a statement earlier this week, ACC President Richard J. Kovacs, MD, FACC, and ACP Executive Vice President & CEO Darilyn V. Moyer, MD, FACP, FRCP, FIDSA, urged "policymakers to consider the important role digital and telehealth services can play to mitigate community spread while allowing clinicians to continue caring for patients."

They noted that "self-quarantine and social distancing are important tools in managing disease transmission, especially among patients who are acutely vulnerable to the risk of infection," and stressed the need for clinicians to "have the necessary flexibility to continue caring for their patients remotely during this rapidly evolving public health response."

In addition to urging increased access to digital and telehealth access, ACC continues to monitor all aspects of COVID-19. The College has issued a Clinical Update that includes clinical guidance given COVID-19 uncertainty. This document is being updated as new information is available.

In addition, ACC.20 Together With World Congress of Cardiology is slated to continue as scheduled from March 28-30, with increased on-site precautions being put in place. The health, safety and well-being of ACC staff, members and other stakeholders are of the utmost priority and the College is actively monitoring Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization recommendations and updates.

Keywords: ACC Advocacy, Public Health, Coronavirus, Telemedicine, Emergency Service, Hospital, Emergency Service, Hospital, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S., World Health Organization, Cardiology

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