Original Source: Center for Connected Health Policy
Last week S. 2741 (Sen. Schatz) and HR 4932 (Rep. Thompson), the Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) for Health Act of 2019 (CONNECT Act), were introduced in order to amend the Social Security Act to expand access to telehealth in the Medicare program. Medicare currently only reimburses for live-video telehealth services, and asynchronous services (store-and-forward) is not permitted for reimbursement (except for Federal telemedicine demonstration programs in Alaska or Hawaii). Additionally, current law places specific restrictions on the originating site (i.e. the physical location of the patient), practitioner at the distant site (i.e. the physical location of the practitioner) and types of services that can be delivered. One of the most significant restrictions is requiring the patient to be located in a rural area, although there are some exceptions for specific circumstances.