Pontotoc Progress

Wicker, Hyde-Smith, Guest call for Medicare Telehealth Benefits extension

Special to the Progress

U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., and U.S. Representative Michael Guest, R-Miss., last week were among a group of 45 legislators calling for the extension of expanded coverage of telehealth services.

In a letter to congressional leadership, the legislators noted that a short-term extension of Medicare telehealth services, which were extended during the COVID-19 pandemic, would provide much-needed certainty to health care providers and patients while Congress works to enact permanent telehealth legislation.

“We strongly support permanently expanding Medicare coverage of telehealth and removing other barriers to the use of telehealth because of its ability to expand access to care, reduce costs, and improve health outcomes. While Congress prepares to enact permanent telehealth legislation, we urge you to include an extension of the pandemic telehealth authorities in must-pass government funding legislation in February,” the lawmakers wrote to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

The letter, led by U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, and Wicker, follows several other collaborative efforts to advance support for telehealth in Congress.

In September, the legislators participated in Telehealth Awareness Week to highlight the service’s importance in providing quality healthcare during the coronavirus pandemic. Wicker, Hyde-Smith, and Guest also sponsored the CONNECT for Health Act to eliminate barriers and expand telehealth access permanently.