NAICU Washington Update

Congress Holds Hearings on Telehealth

April 30, 2021

This week, Congress held two different hearings that addressed various issues related to telehealth, including issues that may affect institutions of higher education. 

In particular, both hearings touched on the Temporary Reciprocity to Ensure Access to Treatment (TREAT) Act (H.R. 708/S. 168), a bipartisan bill that would provide temporary license reciprocity across state lines during the pandemic. NAICU, along with other members of the higher education community, is advocating for passage of the bill. 

The issue of telehealth has been an important priority for institutions of higher education that provide health care services and that are seeking continuity of care for students who are attending school remotely from out of state. 

In the first hearing, held by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, a psychiatry professional urged Congress to enact temporary license reciprocity for the remainder of the pandemic as outlined in the TREAT Act “in order to help us serve patients wherever they are located.”  In response, Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), a sponsor of the bill, noted that he continues to hear from providers about the difficulty of accessing patients due to the “unmanageable” patchwork of state licensure waivers that were issued at the beginning of the pandemic and that are now expiring in some states. 

Similarly, several witnesses at the House hearing recommended that Congress expand access to virtual care by modernizing licensing to allow more telehealth access across state lines, specifically citing the TREAT Act.

The TREAT Act continues to gain cosponsors in both chambers of Congress, though hurdles remain on the way to becoming law. 

MORE News from NAICU