Seniors Telehealth Bill Introduced in House

Reps. Jan Schakowksy (D-Ill.) and Peter King (R-N.Y.) have introduced the Advancing Connectivity during the Coronavirus to Ensure Support for Seniors (ACCESS) Act, the House version of a Senate telehealth bill introduced by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.). 

The bill would boost telehealth access for seniors by funding virtual visits at nursing homes so that families can connect with their loved ones during the pandemic, where physical distance prohibits in-person visits. 

The bill would specifically: 

1. "Require the Secretary of Health and Human Service to share recommendations on additional ways to improve access to telehealth services in nursing facilities and temporarily designated nursing facilities during the pandemic; and 

2. "Establish a grant program authorizing HHS to award nursing facilities grants to enable residents to participate in “virtual visits” with loved ones while the health risk of in-person visits remains high during the pandemic." 

Related: House Telehealth Bill Introduced

“At the onset of this global health crisis, we saw that our older Americans living in nursing homes were the first to bear the brunt of the coronavirus,” Schakowsky said. “We are introducing the bipartisan ACCESS Act to make sure all nursing home residents can take advantage of telehealth services and keep in close contact with their families and other loved ones. Though physical distancing is critical, it does not have to result in damaging social isolation.” 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.