Pediatric Cardiologist Testifies to Senate on Importance of Telehealth Implementation

Karen S. Rheuban, MD, FACC, testified on June 17 before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Labor, Education and Pensions on the rapid changes in health care delivery caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the importance of ongoing telehealth implementation in improving patient outcomes.

Rheuban, a pediatric cardiologist, is the is co-founder and director of the UVA Center for Telehealth. A former president of the American Telehealth Association, Rheuban was joined by the current president Joseph C. Kvedar, MD, and other colleagues across the House of Medicine, including Sanjeev Arora, MD, and Andrea D. Willis, MD, MPH.

Jointly they testified before the bipartisan committee on payment parity, patient satisfaction in care, current hurdles in adoption and ongoing policy needs.

"Prior to COVID-19 ... policy barriers severely limited the large-scale integration of telehealth into everyday care," Rheuban stated in her testimony. "Over the past twenty years, many peer reviewed studies have demonstrated the benefits of telemedicine, but it has taken a global pandemic to showcase its full potential … the time has finally come to fully utilize telehealth in the delivery of health care services." Watch the full hearing here.

ACC's Advocacy team has been diligently working to support rapid telehealth implementation during the COVID-19 public health emergency, and to prevent lapses in health care delivery once the emergency declaration ends. Many key ACC requests, including expanded access to COVID-19 testing and important telehealth waivers and flexibilities, were included in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services second final-interim rule. Learn more here, and stay up to date on what you need to know about telehealth implementation on ACC's COVID-19 Hub.

Keywords: ACC Advocacy, Coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, COVID-19, Medicaid, Medicare, Telemedicine, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (U.S.)

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