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Rep. Wenstrup Introduces Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Allow Patients to Access Telehealth Services from Dialysis Clinics

Washington, May 26, 2022 Contact:

Washington, D.C.Rep. Brad Wenstrup, D.P.M. (R-Ohio) introduced the bipartisan Kidney Health Connect Act, which he led with Reps. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), John Joyce, M.D. (R-Pa.), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) and Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and John Barrasso, M.D. (R-Wyo.) This legislation allows dialysis clinics to serve as originating sites for telehealth services and ensures patients are not responsible for any additional fees associated with their use.

"As a physician, I would sometimes have to open my practice early or stay late so that patients traveling to or from dialysis could see me," said Rep. Brad Wenstrup, D.P.M. "Since the pandemic, many patients now have the flexibility to check in with their providers from the comfort of their homes; this bill grants that same flexibility to dialysis patients who spend hours in clinics."

“Telehealth has been a lifeline for many during the pandemic, especially to those Michiganders who spend hours a week at dialysis centers. I’m proud to support this commonsense legislation to help Americans with kidney disease more easily access necessary care. In Congress, I’ll keep working to ensure every Michigander has access to quality affordable health care,” said Rep. Dan Kildee.

“Allowing patients to use tele-health services while receiving dialysis treatments would save time and money for these patients while also giving them access to the care they need," said Rep. John Joyce, M.D. "I am proud to co-sponsor this legislation that would support patients and their doctors and urge its swift passage through the House.” 

“I’m proud to be partnering with my colleagues, Reps. Wenstrup, Kildee, and Joyce to afford dialysis patients with these common-sense services that make their lives easier and help improve health outcomes,” said Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester. “This bill helps patients utilize important and effective telehealth services that we’ve already seen dramatically expanded during the pandemic and I’m proud to be a part of this bipartisan effort.”

“The pandemic showed us that telehealth is a critical tool in providing timely and safe access to health care while cutting costs for patients and providers. After working to expand telehealth to home dialysis in 2018, I’m proud to build on those efforts by introducing legislation that would permanently increase telehealth flexibilities for the many Americans that rely on dialysis centers," said Sen. Mark Warner.  "As we move out of the pandemic, we must continue working to expand sensible protections that make health care work better for all.”

“Telehealth is an important source of care for patients,” said Sen. John Barrasso, M.D. (R-Wyo.) “As a doctor, I know this is especially critical for patients with chronic diseases and those living in rural America. This is why I am proud to help introduce legislation that will help patients receiving dialysis utilize telehealth services.”

“KCP applauds Congressman Wenstrup for introducing this important bipartisan, bicameral legislation that improves telehealth access to kidney care throughout America- specifically for the most vulnerable Americans living with kidney disease who depend on dialysis care," said Kidney Care Partners (KCP).

Background

During the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE), patients have had unprecedented access to telehealth services. In Medicare, these flexibilities are tied to the PHE deceleration. In order to give patients with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) continued access to connect with their providers while dialyzing in a clinic, the bill would:

  • Allow dialysis clinics to serve as an originating site for Medicare telehealth services.
  • Remove the 20 percent facility fee coinsurance obligation for patients accessing telehealth services in the clinic.

Click here to read the bill text.

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