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Senators Cotton, Boozman push to permanently expand access to telehealth services

The measure includes removing geographic restrictions on telehealth services and bringing the services to rural health clinics.

WASHINGTON — Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and John Boozman (R-AR) have introduced legislation to improve and expand access to telehealth services. 

The Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technology (CARE) for Health Act will permanently remove all geographic restrictions on telehealth services and expand originating sites to include the home and other sites. 

The CONNECT for Health Act also allows health centers and rural health clinics to provide telehealth services, a provision currently in place due to the pandemic but on a temporary basis; provide the Secretary of Health and Human Services with the permanent authority to waive telehealth restrictions, a provision currently in place due to the pandemic but on a temporary basis; allow for the waiver of telehealth restrictions during public health emergencies; requires a study to learn more about how telehealth has been used during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Eliminating certain restrictions for telehealth services allows Arkansans greater access to healthcare without traveling long distances. Our bill will keep these services in place even after the public health emergency expires,” said Sen. Cotton. 

“Telehealth was already a promising health care delivery option, but it quickly became essential amid the pandemic. Now, we must ensure it is widely accessible in the long term in order to more readily meet patients’ needs and give providers the ability to offer care to more Americans. Making these changes permanent and better understanding how to utilize this revolutionary tool is both common sense and profoundly important,” Sen. Boozman said.

The CONNECT for Health Act was first introduced in 2016 and has earned support from numerous healthcare associations. 

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