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March 30, 2018

King Announces Support for Bipartisan Telehealth Legislation

BRUNSWICK, ME – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) announced his support for the Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) for Health Act. This bipartisan legislation would expand telehealth services in Medicare, improve care outcomes, make it easier for patients to connect with their health care providers, and help cut costs for patients and providers.  

“Telehealth has the potential to revolutionize the way Maine people, especially those who live in rural areas, access their health services,” said Senator King. “These technologies can help residents of rural communities access services in a more efficient and cost-effective way, and allow seniors to thrive in place by making the healthcare they need more accessible. Congress should be doing everything possible to help increase the reach of telehealth technologies, and this bill would be a strong step towards the future of our healthcare economy.”

Senator King is a strong advocate for telemedicine solutions. Last year, he led a bipartisan letter to the Federal  Communications Commission in support of the Rural Health Care Program, which helps deliver vital healthcare services and telemedicine to rural areas by providing broadband funding, and rural broadband is a key piece of his economic agenda to grow Maine’s rural economy. Senator King is also a co-founder of the Senate Broadband Caucus, a bipartisan caucus working group developing solutions and strategies to accelerate broadband deployment in order to strengthen the digital economy and to close the digital divide, especially in rural America.

The CONNECT for Health Act would build on provisions in the CHRONIC Care Act, another bipartisan telehealth bill that Senator King cosponsored that expands the use of telehealth in accountable care organizations and Medicare Advantage, as well as for home dialysis patients and the evaluation of an acute stroke. The CHRONIC Care Act passed the Senate as a standalone bill in September, and portions of the legislation were passed into law in December as part of H.R. 1.

The CONNECT for Health Act would also:

  • Expand the use of remote patient monitoring for certain patients with chronic conditions;
  • Increase telehealth and remote patient monitoring services in community health centers and rural health clinics, Native American sites, and in global and bundled payments;
  • Provide direct authority to the HHS secretary to lift existing restrictions on telehealth when certain quality and cost-effectiveness criteria are met; and
  • Expand the use of tele-mental health.

In addition to Senator King, the bill is cosponsored by Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai’i), Roger Wicker (R- Miss.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Shelley Moore Capito (R- W. Va.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Chris Coons (D-Del.) Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.).


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