Health Care Leaders Launch Campaign in Support of Urgent Action in Congress to Permanently Protect Access to Telehealth
Washington, D.C – Health care leaders representing 16 organizations announced Thursday the launch of Telehealth Access for America (TAFA), a public education campaign that aims to protect access to critical telehealth services.
“An overwhelming majority of older Americans who have used a telehealth service in the last year have a positive view of the experience. Telehealth allows older Americans to access appropriate health care services conveniently and safely. We look forward to working with policymakers to ensure America’s seniors continue to have access to telehealth tools that can improve health outcomes, lower costs and enhance quality of life.” – Nancy LeaMond, Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer, AARP
“The COVID-19 pandemic caused health care providers, and the patients they serve, to rapidly adapt, leading many to access and realize the full potential of telehealth services for the first time. With access to these vital services now at risk, Congress must act to safeguard access with permanent solutions.” – Carlyle Walton, President, Adventist Health Policy Association
“The COVID-19 pandemic showed the potential of telehealth – and it has given policymakers the evidence to validate our long-held beliefs around the capability of telehealth to help ensure all Americans have access to care when and where they most need it. We call on policymakers to chart a clear path forward to protecting this increased access to care and continuing this vital modernization of our health care system.” – Krista Drobac, Executive Director, Alliance for Connected Care
“Unprecedented telehealth flexibilities have improved access to care for patients and achieved progress toward addressing inequities in our health care system. Allowing expanded access to telehealth to expire would make it more difficult for patients to receive vital care for managing their condition and optimizing their health. Congress must act to protect access to telehealth services.” – Mark Schoeberl, Executive Vice President, Advocacy, American Heart Association
“Access to telehealth is vital to Americans’ well-being and quality of life. Flexibility provided by policymakers during the pandemic led to greater use of telehealth services made possible by providers’ investments in these tools. Without action from Congress, millions of Americans who have come to rely on telehealth services will lose access to the care they value.” – Rick Pollack, President and CEO, American Hospital Association
“The Administration and many state and federal lawmakers have used sound judgement to ensure individuals in rural and underserved communities and our most vulnerable patient populations had access to lifesaving telehealth services during the COVID public health emergency. In fact, in September more than 65 members of Congress, representing 34 states, signed on as Policy Champions of our first-ever Telehealth Awareness Week, reinforcing the fact that access to virtual care is a bipartisan issue that requires attention from both sides of the aisle to solve for health disparities. We now need these lawmakers to take swift action to make access to telehealth permanent in order to avoid the telehealth cliff.” – Ann Mond Johnson, CEO, American Telemedicine Association (ATA)
“Expanded telehealth access has allowed millions more patients to see their care providers, receive prescriptions and manage their health, improving outcomes, health equity and patient and caregiver choice. The patients and consumers we serve overwhelmingly recognize these benefits and are in support of urgent action from Congress to permanently protect access to telehealth services.” – Joseph Impicciche, President and CEO, Ascension
“The pandemic only accelerated the inevitable adoption of telehealth as a viable and increasingly essential option for patients and clinicians. We strongly support Telehealth Access for America and the goal of providing permanent access for patients to receive care through telehealth. The last 18 months have clearly shown that telehealth can play a crucial role in the healthcare system, helping both patients and clinicians by providing efficient, convenient, and effective access to care.” – Bob Segert, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, athenahealth
“Technological advancement and innovation before and during the pandemic has allowed many CTA members to provide critical tech-enabled care to Americans nationwide. It is imperative that this expanded access and ability for patients to receive the virtual care they need continues. At CTA, we believe that technology is about changing people’s lives for the better.” – Rene Quashie, Vice President, Digital Health, Consumer Technology Association (CTA)
“Telehealth is transformative for many patients who face barriers to accessing in-person services. We saw its promise during the pandemic and learned how critical it is to the future of healthcare delivery. Our members strongly support Congressional action on telehealth to ensure everyone has access to quality, affordable healthcare when and where they need it.” – Jen Covich Bordenick, CEO, Executives for Health Innovation (EHI)
“As a coalition of leaders from all sectors of American healthcare, we have seen our industry put to the test by the COVID-19 pandemic and respond with innovative, patient-focused solutions. One of the most beneficial of these has been the expanded utilization of telehealth, which has helped make healthcare more affordable and accessible. As we continue to see its value, Americans must be able to rely on permanent access to telehealth services.” – Mary R. Grealy, President, Healthcare Leadership Council
“The Health Innovation Alliance is committed to creating value for patients. The pandemic has demonstrated the immense value of telehealth for patients and health care providers, without the cost increases or overutilization some had feared. While we have rallied and testified in support of congressional action to protect this access, Congress has yet to make telehealth a permanent fixture on the health care landscape. We need them to act now on making telehealth a permanent reality. We look forward to continued work with like-minded stakeholders to meet this goal.” – Joel White, Executive Director, Health Innovation Alliance
“We know that virtual care is here to stay. Our own research shows that nearly 40% of Americans are planning to use virtual care after the pandemic, and yet significant barriers still exist when it comes to patients being able to access these services. At Included Health we’re working to raise the standard of care for patients and family caregivers across the country so that everyone has access to the physical and behavioral healthcare they deserve. We hope that Congress permanently removes unnecessary barriers to accessing quality care and ensure all Americans can continue to reap the benefits of this expanded access.” – Ami Parekh, MD JD, Chief Health Officer, Included Health
“Protecting and expanding access to telehealth is essential to strengthening America’s health care future. Congress must act to expand patient choice in every American community, meet patients where they are, and bring health care into the 21st century. We owe it to our patients to make health care access easier, and patients with Medicare should not be excluded from this opportunity.” – Brian Hasselfeld, MD, Medical Director, Digital Health and Telemedicine, Johns Hopkins Medicine
“Our members, which include many leading health care providers, understand the critical need to protect and expand telehealth access for all Americans. This means ensuring Congress takes the necessary action to safeguard and strengthen virtual care as a critical pillar of 21st century health care.” – Mara McDermott, Executive Director, Partnership to Advance Virtual Care (PAVC)
“Geography remains one of the strongest predictors of health outcomes in the U.S. Extending permanent access to telehealth will help mitigate disparities and address gaps in care delivery while expanding patient and provider choice at reduced costs. As part of our ongoing commitment to promote and enable access to high quality care, we are proud to stand with health care leaders across the country to ensure expanded access to telehealth.” – Dr. Lewis Levy, Chief Medical Officer, Public Policy and Strategic Partnerships, Teladoc Health
ABOUT TELEHEALTH ACCESS FOR AMERICA
Telehealth Access for America (TAFA) is a public education campaign supported by leaders in health care committed to better care, expanded patient choice, and protecting access to critical telehealth services.
Learn more at www.telehealthaccessforamerica.org.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 2, 2021
Contact: Julia Mirich