House Joins Senate in Reintroducing HEAT Act for Medicare Reimbursement of Home Telehealth

Situation Report | June 1, 2021

The Home Health Emergency Access to Telehealth (HEAT) Act (H.R. 3371) was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last week. The bill was previously reintroduced in the Senate (S. 1309).

This bipartisan legislation would provide Medicare reimbursement to home health agencies that deliver audio and video telehealth services during COVID-19. HCA urges all home care providers to join our legislative action center campaign calling on Congress to pass this vital bill. Your action takes less than a minute to send a message to New York’s Congressional Delegation here.

If approved, the legislation would allow for home health telehealth reimbursement under the current COVID-19 public health emergency. It would give authority to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to issue a waiver allowing telehealth visits to count towards in-person visits as included on the plan of care. Services would not be reimbursed unless the beneficiary consents to receiving services through telehealth.

Additionally, Medicare reimbursement would only be provided if the telehealth services account for no more than half of the billable visits made during a 30-day payment period. This would ensure that the Medicare home health benefit does not become a telehealth-only benefit. The bill will also require a pre-existing relationship between the patient and ordering physician for the patient to be eligible to receive reimbursable telehealth services.

HCA has advocated for telehealth reimbursement since the onset of the pandemic and will continue to work with state and national partners to advance this legislation. Please join us in writing to your Member of Congress, Senator Charles Schumer, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today.