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Telehealth, rural physician bills clear committee

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(The Center Square) – Legislation to make permanent the extension of telehealth services for federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics has passed the Ways and Means Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The bill of U.S. Rep. Dr. Greg Murphy, R-N.C., and the Rural Physician Workforce Preservation Act he authored are also under consideration by the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

“I’m grateful for my colleagues’ support on these bills critical for eastern North Carolina,” Murphy wrote on social media.

He said as a physician, he recognizes the need “to tackle physician shortages” and preserve telehealth.

Murphy is pushing House Resolution 8154 – amending title XVIII of the Social Security Act – in part because flexibilities allowed by an appropriations bill of 2023 will expire Dec. 31. Medicare claims climbed 35.9% in 2020 for care rendered by federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics.

Murphy says telehealth, in addition to convenience, produces cost savings for taxpayers and patients.

The legislation is included in House Resolution 8261, the Preserving Telehealth, Hospital, and Ambulance Access Act. The bill introduced by Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., passed 41-0.

The rural physician bill – House Resolution 8235 – ensures that unallocated graduate medical education slots go to hospitals located in rural areas. Passage in the committee was 24-16.

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