Telehealth Stakeholder Letter to Senate

September 13, 2022 

The Honorable Charles Schumer 

Majority Leader 

United States Senate 

Washington, DC 20510 

The Honorable Mitch McConnell 

Minority Leader 

United States Senate 

Washington, DC 20510 

Dear Senators Schumer and McConnell: 

Thank you for your continued leadership in expanding access to virtual care during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). This access has been transformational – patients now expect and often prefer telehealth as a key component of our health care system and providers have been able to reach many patients that previously had access barriers through virtual care. 

These opportunities were made possible by the flexibilities and waivers under the current PHE. However, at the end of the COVID-19 PHE period, the clock begins to tick on the current 151-day statutory extension of telehealth waivers. While we appreciate these temporary extensions, the short-term nature continues to introduce significant uncertainty into our health care system. Providers must weigh the costs of investing in the technological and clinical infrastructure required to maintain telehealth programs at scale against the uncertainty of when these telehealth policies may end. Further, patients who utilize telehealth as part of their care plan face the possibility of a forced return to in-person care. This is particularly concerning for those utilizing telehealth to reach experts at longer distances, for access to mental and behavioral health practitioners, and those receiving ongoing remote care for chronic conditions. 

Virtual care is now a fundamental part of the U.S. health care system, and it will improve patient access to high quality care and strengthen continuity of care well beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. While many of the most compelling clinical use cases for virtual care are only now emerging, more communities than ever have experienced the powerful impact telehealth has had in bridging gaps in care. Telehealth is helping to address the crisis-level mental health, primary care, and other workforce shortages. Many underserved communities that historically have had limited access to care may now beam in additional support for their workforce as well as top specialists to help save lives and treat critically ill patients. Unfortunately, without statutory certainty for remote care the hard work of building infrastructure, trust, and relationships with these communities is beginning to stall. 

As such, we urge the Senate to act this fall to ensure certainty for telehealth services. As demonstrated by the House – which passed the Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act (H.R. 4040) by a vote of 416-12 – telehealth is an overwhelmingly bipartisan issue. The Senate should act to pass a two-year extension of these important telehealth policies, while continuing to push for a permanent extension, that includes provisions to lift provider and patient location limitations, remove in-person requirements for telemental health, ensure continued access to clinically appropriate controlled substances without in-person requirements, and increase access to telehealth services in the commercial market. 

We look forward to working with you to provide certainty to our nation’s health care providers and, more importantly, ensure communities across the country can continue to access care when and where they need it. 


The Honorable Ron Wyden 

The Honorable Mike Crapo