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WTAS: Gianforte’s Bill to Expand Telehealth

February 7, 2020
Press Release

Congressman Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.) and Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.), chair of the Health Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, on Wednesday introduced the National Telehealth Strategy and Data Advancement Act, H.R. 5763, to expand telehealth services throughout the country.

Industry and thought leaders have advocated expanding telehealth services for years. Read below to see what they’re saying.

Montana leaders

“For a rural state like Montana, it can be challenging for folks to access timely, quality healthcare. It is important we fight to promote and improve access to telehealth services so Montanans can get the treatment they need no matter where they live. I am thankful to Congressman Gianforte for leading the fight in the House and I look forward to introducing the legislation in the Senate.” – U.S. Senator Steve Daines

“Montana has been a pioneer in the use of telehealth technologies to increase access to high quality health care, especially in our state’s rural and frontier areas. However, there is much more that can be done to expand access and improve the patient and clinician’s experience with telehealth services. Congressman Gianforte’s bill helps to advance next steps toward achieving that goal.” – Rich Rasmussen, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Montana Hospital Association

“Benefis Health System is excited about the potential of this bill to expand telehealth access across rural Montana. Congressman Gianforte’s leadership in spearheading this bill is exactly the type of thing we need to drive healthcare delivery in our state and throughout the nation forward.” – John Goodnow, Chief Executive Officer of Benefis Health System

“Billings Clinic appreciates Congressman Gianforte’s leadership on pushing to advance telemedicine availability for the rural areas of our state and country, which will lead to better access to health care services.” – Dr. Heidi Duncan, Physician Director of Health Policy at Billings Clinic

“Montanans need greater access to care as we have many rural areas without immediate access to healthcare service providers, and one path to address that is expanding telehealth services. Congressman Gianforte’s bill prioritizes increasing telehealth access and streamlining the federal government’s management and allocation of support to better benefit patients and providers. His legislation paves the way to developing a strong foundation of evidence that emphasizes the benefits of telehealth. I thank Congressman Gianforte for his bill which will help ensure the Montanans we serve at Bozeman Health have better access to care.” – Tamara Havenhill-Jacobs, Chief Information Officer at Bozeman Health

“It is important for rural facilities to utilize technology to improve access and reduce healthcare costs for our patients, and I appreciate Congressman Gianforte’s leadership on this critical issue.” – Cherie Taylor, Chief Executive Officer of Northern Rockies Medical Center, Inc.

“I fully support the legislation introduced by Congressman Gianforte regarding amending the Public Health Service Act to advance telehealth medicine and pharmacy. This legislation is congruent with the advancement of the profession of pharmacy in Montana, The Skaggs School of Pharmacy’s efforts for training and educating clinical pharmacists, and improving health among rural Montanans.” – Dr. Vince Colucci, Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy at the University of Montana

Industry leaders

“In order to create sustainability in the system and ensure grantees – usually in rural and underserved areas – are able to continue to serve their patients, your legislation will create a telehealth coordinating body that would set federal funding priorities across departments, research data reporting standards with the focus on the implementation, execution, application of telehealth and the relationship between these characteristics and data-driven performance, and make these data publicly available. We believe the plan required by your legislation will generate evidence crucial to advancing reimbursement for these new technologies. This coordinated approach will better focus federal dollars on generating evidence to support expanded reimbursement - and allow researchers and federal agencies to access data to build the evidence base. Thank you for your commitment to help ensure access to care for patients all across the country and we look forward to working with you to ensure the National Telehealth Strategy and Data Advancement Act becomes law.” letter in support of the National Telehealth Strategy and Data Advancement Act from 16 leading health care organizations

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“It is now clear that telehealth can break down barriers to access for patients no matter where a patient is located. For this reason, the Health Innovation Alliance supports the National Telehealth Strategy and Data Advancement Act. This vital legislation delivers on this promise by elevating telehealth within the Department of Health and Human Services and to require the development for adoption, advancement, and coordination of telehealth across the federal government. We commend Congressman Gianforte and Chairwoman Eshoo for their leadership on this important issue and look forward to working with them to ensure this bill becomes law.” – Joel White, Executive Director of Health Innovation Alliance

“We applaud Representative Gianforte’s leadership on the National Telehealth Strategy and Data Advancement Act. Building a framework around telehealth is an important step toward making health and care accessible to everyone, especially the underserved. Investing in research and pursuing a more coordinated federal approach will provide a much-needed evidence base to inform reimbursement and best practices.” – Russ Branzell, Chief Executive Officer and President of the College of Healthcare Information Executives (CHIME)

Text of Gianforte and Eshoo’s National Telehealth Strategy and Data Advancement Act, H.R. 5763, may be found HERE.