Senators Introduce Bipartisan Telehealth Bill

A bipartisan group of six senators, led by Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Roger Wicker (R-MS), have introduced legislation, S. 2484, seeking to promote the use of telehealth and remote patient monitoring services under the Medicare program.   

Their bill, the “CONNECT for Health Act,” would allow health plans to offer telehealth and remote patient monitoring services as a basic benefit under the Medicare Advantage program. The bill also would establish a demonstration program to support providers who furnish telehealth or remote patient monitoring services in a manner consistent with the goals of the new Merit-Based Incentive Payment System that was established as part of the 2015 Medicare physician payment reform law.  Other provisions address the use of telehealth services in community health centers and rural health clinics and by participants in alternative payment models.  In addition, the bill would authorize Medicare fee-for-service coverage of remote patient monitoring services for certain individuals with multiple chronic conditions. 

AHIP has addressed a letter to the sponsors of the “CONNECT for Health Act,” expressing support for the bill and noting that health plans have embraced telehealth through the widespread use of nurse hotlines, remote monitoring services, electronic office visits, and other innovative ways of providing value to enrollees.  The following are links to legislative language and a summary of the bill.  

Reps. Diane Black (R-TN) and Peter Welch (D-VT) are planning to introduce a companion bill in the House of Representatives.

FDA approves Takeda’s Dexilant SoluTab

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved Takeda Pharmaceuticals’ Dexilant SoluTab (dexlansoprazole) delayed release tablets. The tablets, indicated to treat heartburn that’s associated with non-erosive gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and maintain healed erosive esophagitis, are meant to melt in a patient’s mouth. 

Click the link for more.