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Latta & Dingell Introduce Legislation to Remove Barriers to Telehealth During Public Health Emergencies

Today, Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH5) and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI12) introduced H.R. 8283, the Temporary Reciprocity to Ensure Access to Treatment (TREAT) Act, to provide temporary licensing reciprocity for health care professionals in all states for all types of services during designated public health emergency declarations, like the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Telehealth has become a lifeline for continuing access to needed medical care throughout the pandemic response. Under current law, health care professionals must maintain licenses in each state they provide services, including telehealth services. The bipartisan TREAT Act would allow health care professionals licensed in good standing to provide in-person care or telehealth visits from any state throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and in future national emergencies without jeopardizing their state licensure.

“Prioritizing the well-being of the American people must be at the forefront of any decision during times of public health emergencies. Americans are utilizing telehealth to receive needed care and treatments more than ever before because of the Coronavirus pandemic,” said Latta. “If a health care provider is available to provide care remotely but they practice in a different state than the patient, there should not be hoops for the health care provider or patient to jump through in order for the patient to receive the care they need. With this bill, I am proud we could come together in a bipartisan way to remove barriers to care so that health care providers can provide critical services in any location. With the TREAT Act, health care providers have greater flexibility so they can treat patients regardless of the state they call home.”

“The pandemic has stretched thin our already fragmented health care system. As the industry innovates to better serve patients and meet the need, we can’t let bureaucratic red tape get in the way. Health care providers, in good standing and with a valid license to practice, should be able to provide services in any location through telehealth,” said Dingell. “That’s why we worked together on this bipartisan legislation that provides temporary standards so health care providers can do their jobs and patients can get the care they need.”

Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduced the Senate companion bill, S.4421, earlier this year. 

The TREAT Act would:

  • Enable health care professionals licensed in good standing to care for patients (whether in-person or through telehealth visits) from any state during this national emergency without jeopardizing their state licensure or facing potential penalties for unauthorized practice of medicine;
  • Require the health care professional to obtain oral or written acknowledgment of services; 
  • Require health care professionals who use this authority to notify a state or local licensing board within 30 days of first practicing in a state other than where licensed or certified;
  • Preclude any service that is otherwise prohibited by a state where a patient is located and require adherence to specified prescribing requirements of the state;
  • Allow authority for a state where a health care professional has practiced under this reciprocity measure to pursue investigations and disciplinary actions, including the ability to exclude a clinician from practicing in the state under the Act;
  • Not include health care professionals otherwise licensed under a compact agreement or licensed in the state where the patient resides;
  • Apply the licensure reciprocity for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency, with a 180-day phase out; and
  • Allow the HHS Secretary to use this authority for a future national emergency when a declaration has been made under the Public Health Service Act and either the National Emergencies Act or for at least 12 states under the Stafford Act.


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