Health IT Now Lauds Telehealth Expansion, Opioid Funding in Senate Budget Deal
WASHINGTON, DC (February 8, 2018): Health IT Now – a broad-based coalition of patient groups, provider organizations, employers, and payers supporting health information technology to improve patient outcomes – responded to the unveiling of the Bipartisan Budget Act, a two-year budget agreement brokered by Senate Republicans and Democrats.
Health IT Now successfully fought for the inclusion of telehealth provisions from the Senate-passed CHRONIC Care Act in the bill. The budget agreement also provides an additional $6 billion in funding to address the opioid crisis, a priority of Health IT Now’s newly launched Opioid Safety Alliance.
Health IT Now Executive Director Joel White released the following statement:
“We are pleased that the Senate budget deal upholds the critical wins for patients achieved by Health IT Now in Tuesday’s House-passed Continuing Resolution, including measures we have long championed to expand access to telehealth and usher the Medicare program into the 21st century. For too long, Medicare has lagged behind other health payers in covering and reimbursing telehealth services. The reforms contained in this agreement mark the beginning of a much-needed shift that will pay dividends in better healthcare outcomes and reduced costs,” said HITN Executive Director Joel White.
White continued, “The budget deal also reflects a promising investment in combating the opioid crisis. Now, it is incumbent on policymakers to ensure these dollars are used most effectively. Health IT Now’s Opioid Safety Alliance has presented Congress with a bold agenda of technology-enabled solutions to prevent and treat addiction. The $6 billion allotted for the opioid crisis in this budget agreement would pay for these reforms many times over. Our members will be relentless in ensuring that 21st-century health IT solutions are on the table as this funding is appropriated.”