U.S. Senate Introduces Legislation to Allow Medicare Reimbursement for Telehealth Services  

Situation Report | October 26, 2020

Last Friday evening, U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Ben Cardin introduced S.4854, the Home Health Emergency Access to Telehealth (HEAT) Act.  

This bipartisan legislation would provide Medicare reimbursement to home health agencies that deliver audio and video telehealth services during COVID-19. Similar legislation was also introduced by four members of Congress.  

If approved, the legislation would allow for home health telehealth reimbursement under the current COVID-19 public health emergency, as well as future public health emergencies. 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. 

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. Members should be prepared to take part in grassroots advocacy initiatives in the coming days and weeks ahead to ensure the bill is passed. HCA will keep members updated as the bill advances.  

For questions, please contact HCA Director for Public Policy, Alyssa Lovelace