Mississippi officials join over forty legislators in writing a letter to congressional leadership.

On Friday, U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-M) along with U.S. Representative Michael Guest (R-MS) joined colleagues in a letter to congressional leadership calling for the extension of expanded coverage of telehealth services.

The Mississippi officials are among a group of 45 legislators who are writing a letter to Majority Leader Schumer, Minority Leader McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, and Minority Leader McCarthy.

The group of legislators write that, “telehealth has been a critical tool during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that patients continue to receive the health care they need while keeping health care providers and patients safe. Congress recognized the importance of telehealth and included provisions in COVID-19 legislation to increase access to telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries during the pandemic.”

“We strongly support permanently expanding Medicare coverage of telehealth and removing other barriers to the use of telehealth because of its ability to expand access to care, reduce costs, and improve health outcomes.  While Congress prepares to enact permanent telehealth legislation, we urge you to include an extension of the pandemic telehealth authorities in must-pass government funding legislation in February,” the letter continued.

The group of lawmakers state that permanent telehealth reforms included in the CONNECT for Health Act, as well as other telehealth bills, are imperative to increase access to care, reduce costs, and improve health outcomes.

“In February, Congress should extend the authorities that have expanded coverage of telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to maintain access to telehealth and provide necessary certainty for Medicare telehealth coverage,” the letter concludes.

Senator Hyde-Smith posted on social media that telehealth has proven to be invaluable against COVID-19 and that she has joined Senator Wicker, Congressman Guest, Senator Schatz, and others in urging leadership to extend the expanded coverage of Medicare in telehealth services.

Telehealth services have proven vital during the coronavirus pandemic, especially in Mississippi,” Senator Wicker said.

You can read the full text of the letter here