U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today issued the following statement after the Senate passed the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act of 2017 (S. 870), bipartisan legislation that would strengthen health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries living with chronic conditions. The bill, of which Thune is a co-sponsor, includes several Thune-supported provisions to support telehealth services, including provisions from the CONNECT for Health Act and his Furthering Access to Stroke Telemedicine (FAST) Act (S. 431). The Senate Finance Committee, of which Thune is a member, unanimously approved S. 870 on May 18, 2017.
“Managing chronic conditions is critical to improving the health of patients across the country,” said Thune. “This bipartisan bill makes important advancements to manage care more efficiently, and importantly, it will create greater opportunities for Medicare patients in South Dakota and other rural areas to better utilize telehealth services. There is strong support for this initiative in the Senate, and work is ongoing in the House, so I’m hopeful we’ll be able to get a final bill on the president’s desk as soon as possible.”
Thune-Supported Provisions in the CHRONIC Care Act:
- The CHRONIC Care Act contains a provision similar to Thune’s FAST Act, which eliminates originating site geographic restrictions for telehealth services to remotely diagnose and treat stroke patients beginning in 2021.
Medicare Advantage (MA) Value-Based Insurance Design (V-BID):
- Expands the MA V-BID demonstration program, initially proposed by Thune, to allow an MA plan in any state to participate in the program by 2020.
CONNECT for Health provisions:
- Allows additional telehealth benefits under MA.
- Provides Accountable Care Organizations the ability to expand the use of telehealth.
- Permits the use of telehealth for periodic consultations with health care practitioners for home dialysis users.