By Jennifer Esposito, Intel’s Worldwide General Manager, Health and Life Sciences Group
Right now, the President has the tremendous opportunity to sign into law the Support for Patients and Communities Act, a comprehensive approach to fighting the opioids epidemic that is hurting so many American families.
Contained in the legislation is a recognition of the value of telehealth in reaching more patients in more places. We know that widespread access to substance abuse treatment is a key solution to address the epidemic. This bill expands the use of telehealth services by eliminating certain legal originating site requirements for telehealth services provided to Medicare beneficiaries for the treatment of substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders. And it would allow payment for those services offered via telehealth at originating sites, including a beneficiary’s home, regardless as of geographic location.
This bill represents a long-sought step forward in federal telemedicine policy. The recognition of telemedicine as a way to provide seniors with addiction disorder treatment should inspire the realization that this critical technology can provide needed care for all seniors.
The bill also directs the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to issue guidance to states on options for providing services via telehealth that address substance use disorders under Medicaid. CMS will also issue a report to Congress identifying best practices and potential solutions to the barriers inhibiting telehealth services for children. Finally, the bill addresses the use of telemedicine to prescribe drugs that are commonly used to treat opioid addiction, but are themselves controlled substances.
Intel is helping to accelerate the digital transformation of healthcare. We are working to advance the technology used to improve quality, reduce cost and increase access. This bill is an important advancement toward a goal of patient centered care.