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Washington – Wyoming Congresswoman and House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) issued the following statement after President Trump signed an executive order aimed at enhancing healthcare in rural communities, including a permanent extension of Medicare payments for telehealth services for certain medical providers. The signing of this executive order comes after Rep. Cheney introduced legislation calling for these measures to be taken earlier this year:

“The President has taken an important step to ensure those living in rural communities in Wyoming have better access to reliable medical care. I’m very pleased that the executive order that President Trump signed today contains many of the principles and provisions that were included in the legislation I introduced in June. The additional resources included in this measure will enable healthcare providers to better serve the people of our state. 

“As we continue to fight the spread of COVID-19, increasing telehealth services will make it easier for those in rural areas to have access to medical professionals without having to travel long distances. I applaud the President’s commitment to ensuring all Americans have access to quality health care, including through telehealth, and will continue working with my colleagues in Congress on prioritizing this lifesaving medical technology.”



BACKGROUND:

In June, Representative Cheney introduced the Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act. This legislation will allow the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to waive the originating site and geographical limitations beyond the public health emergency period that was specified in the CARES Act. Before this waiver went into effect, Medicare beneficiaries who wanted to utilize telehealth services could only do so at a designated “originating site” and only in the event of a physician shortage.

Rep. Cheney’s bill would also make permanent the telehealth coverage at Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) and Rural Health Clinics (RHC). This will give rural providers the ability to serve patients remotely while being properly compensated for their work.

Finally, the bill calls for removing restrictions that limit health care providers’ ability to provide access to smart devices and innovative digital technology to their patients. Allowing Medicare providers to remotely monitor and track their patient’s health will improve quality of life while reducing costly trips to the emergency room.  

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