Trump Signs Order to Expand Access to Telehealth
President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order to further expand access to telehealth services where healthcare practitioners can communicate and provide services for their patients remotely via phone calls or video calls—a move the president says will help seniors and rural Americans better access healthcare.
“Expanded access to medical care through telemedicine is essential to fighting the virus,” Trump said in a statement announcing the move.
Near the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump administration had made telehealth criteria more flexible regarding what services qualify under telehealth, as well as the type of healthcare practitioner who may provide telehealth services, and under what circumstances telehealth can be provided.
“When the invisible enemy struck our shores, I took immediate action to eliminate regulatory barriers to telehealth, making it easier for patients to consult with doctors from safety and convenience. And really, they have great safety and great convenience right from their homes,” Trump told reporters at a press conference at the White House.
“Today I’m taking action to ensure telehealth is here to stay,” the president said. “I signed an executive order to make many of our regulatory reforms permanent.
“We worked with the leaders of major health insurance companies to ensure coverage for the telehealth visits related to coronavirus,” Trump explained about the administration’s earlier actions. “We cut red tape to allow many services to be conducted by phone, rather than video, which is much simpler, providing a much easier option for many seniors in particular.”
The president’s latest executive order builds upon such changes, including making some of the changes permanent.
“The order builds upon a series of actions we’ve all taken to make telehealth available to all,” Trump said. “We ensured that Medicare covers telehealth visits at no additional cost. That’s no additional cost. And co-payments can be waived for telehealth services.”
Trump said that the administration has now “vastly expanded coverage, allowing Medicare to cover more than 135 new services” through telehealth.