Akron Beacon Journal Editorial Board Praises Portman’s Bipartisan Effort to Ensure Access to Telehealth Services

September 8, 2020 | Portman Difference

Today, the Akron Beacon Journal editorial board praised Senator Portman’s bipartisan efforts to make permanent the current temporary federal waivers that expanded coverage for telehealth. Social distancing guidelines have disrupted traditional services and necessitated the use of telehealth services to help individuals. While the temporary waivers provide a necessary reprieve for patients so that they may continue their treatments and counseling virtually, they are time-limited and will ultimately expire at the conclusion of the Public Health Emergency. That’s why Portman has introduced the bipartisan Telehealth Response for E-Prescribing Addiction Treatment Services (TREATS) Act to make permanent a number of temporary waivers for telehealth services and to bolster telehealth options. The bill will also allow Medicare to bill for audio-only, or telephone, telehealth visits if it’s not a patient’s first visit. In-person visits or telehealth visits with video components are important, because they can allow for more robust checkups and evaluations. 

Excerpts of the editorial can be found below and the full editorial can be found here.  

Expanding Coverage for Telehealth Makes Sense Even Post-Pandemic
Akron Beacon Journal

Editorial Board

September 8, 2020 

Ohio Medicaid Director Maureen Corcoran recently declared, “Expanding telehealth is the silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic.” We’re inclined to agree. Allowing more health care visits, especially for mental health issues, to take place via telephone, videoconference or other remote technologies is an important way to expand access. 

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In another sign that greater use of telehealth is the wave of the future, Sen. Rob Portman is supporting legislation that would make permanent some temporary federal waivers allowing it. If Congress ever manages to pass another coronavirus relief bill, it should include Portman’s provision. For mental health care especially, the added option of seeing a provider from the comfort and safety of home can be invaluable. 

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