Under the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) waived key telehealth requirements, making it easier for Medicare beneficiaries to receive services – including PT, OT and speech therapy- in their homes. These therapy services are currently allowed under Medicare Part B and Part C (Medicare Advantage). In June 2020, CMS Administrator Seema Verma expressed support for permanently expanding this access to telehealth services, however, right now, all of the CMS waivers are set to expire at the end of the federal emergency declaration. If we don’t want this benefit to slip through the cracks we must tell our elected officials.
COVID-19 has accelerated the appreciation and acceptance of telehealth services. People with transportation limitations and those living far from services are now able to see Parkinson’s trained PTs, OTs, and ST’s from the comfort and safety of their own homes. These needs will not go away with COVID-19. Let’s raise our voices and let Congress know the importance of Medicare’s current coverage of telehealth therapy services.
Step 1) Identify Your Members of Congress
- You can find your House of Representatives member at https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative
- You can find your Senators at http://www.senate.gov/states/statesmap.htm
- The above links should direct you to the web pages of your members of Congress that will let you know how you can write to them. Your members of Congress should have a contact page that will let you know the best way to contact them. Usually, this is a form you will fill out.
Step 2) Fill in Your Member of Congress’ Name and your contact information
- Make sure to include the member of Congress’ name at the top of the document and to include your address and contact information, including your email and/or phone number below your name.
- Download a template letter in Microsoft Word.
Step 3) Insert Your Personal Story
- The most effective and persuasive communications with Congress come from constituents talking about their personal experiences.
- Briefly, in the template, talk about your experiences with high out-of-pocket costs and how it affects the patient community.