WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) announced her co-sponsorship of the CONNECT for Health Act, bipartisan legislation that would expand the use of telehealth and remote patient monitoring services in order to provide cost savings and quality care. 

“In many of our state’s rural communities, Nevadans often have to travel great distances in order to seek medical care,” said Senator Rosen. “This legislation would remove restrictions and limitations that are holding back those in need from utilizing telehealth programs, while at the same time providing areas for cost-saving measures. I will continue to support forward-thinking legislation that improves access to health services for Nevadans.”

BACKGROUND: Telehealth is the use of telecommunications technologies to deliver health care, health information, or health education at a distance. Clinical uses include video conferencing, remote patient monitoring (RPM) services (use of telecommunications tools to monitor high-risk patients at home), and store-and-forward technologies (asynchronous transfer of medical data for analysis and care).

The bipartisan CONNECT for Health Act would create a bridge program to help providers transition to the goals of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) and the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) through using telehealth and RPM without most restrictions. This legislation also would permit the use of remote patient monitoring for certain patients with chronic conditions, permit further telehealth and RPM in community health centers and rural health clinics, and allow telehealth and RPM to be basic benefits in Medicare Advantage.

In November, the Senate passed Senator Rosen’s amendment to increase funding for the USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program by $1 million. Earlier in the year, Rosen led a group of a dozen Senators in an appropriations request to the Senate Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, highlighting the benefits of the program and requesting continued robust funding in Fiscal Year 2020. Last Congress, then-Congresswoman Rosen sent a similar bipartisan appropriations request to the House Appropriations Committee in support of the DLT grant program. Since 1994, the DLT grant program has helped to establish hundreds of DLT systems, improving the quality of life for thousands of residents in rural communities all across the United States.

Earlier this year, Senator Rosen voted in committee for the Lower Health Care Costs Act, bipartisan legislation that included her provision to expand telehealth grants to also include funding opportunities for modernized internet, so clinics are able to fully utilize telehealth equipment. The bill passed through the Senate HELP Committee in July with strong bipartisan support.

Senator Rosen led a group of a dozen Senators in an appropriations request to the Senate Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, highlighting the benefits of the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program and requesting continued funding in Fiscal Year 2020. 

Last Congress, then-Congresswoman Rosen sent a similar bipartisan appropriations request to the House Appropriations Committee in support of the DLT grant program. Since 1994, the DLT grant program has helped to establish hundreds of DLT systems, improving the quality of life for thousands of residents in rural communities all across the United States.

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