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What is Rep. Glenn Thompson’s HEALTH Act of 2021?

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On July 16, Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) proposed a bill that will focus on the provision of healthcare services to more senior citizens, regardless of their location. The GOP congressman introduced the “Helping Ensure Access to Local TeleHealth” (HEALTH) Act of 2021 which seeks to improve the telehealth services provided by rural health clinics and community health centers.

“As a former healthcare professional, who spent nearly 30 years serving rural populations, I am amazed at how telehealth services make life simpler for rural and underserved communities— and in particular older Americans,” Rep. Thompson stated last week. 

“Continued use and promotion of these services will improve health equity by increasing access to care for our most vulnerable. The HEALTH Act cuts red tape and permanently allows community health centers and rural health clinics to furnish telehealth services to their patients,” Thompson added.

The North Carolina Community Health Center Association, the National Association of Community Health Centers, the Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers, the National Association of Rural Health Clinics, and Keystone Rural Health Consortia Inc. all threw in their support for the proposed legislation. 

“As part of our mission, community health centers collaborate with our medically underserved patients to overcome their obstacles to health,” Chris Shank, CEO & President, North Carolina Community Health Center Association.

“Keystone Rural Health Consortia, Inc greatly appreciates Rep. Glenn Thompson’s efforts in reintroducing his HEALTH Act to Congress in support of FQHCs’ and RHCs’ ability to permanently provide and bill for telehealth services under Medicare,” said Kristie Bennardi, CEO and CFO of Keystone Rural Health Consortia, Inc.

“As we look to extend Medicare’s coverage of telehealth beyond the public health emergency, it is imperative that we have fair and sufficient reimbursement for rural health clinics,” said Nathan Baugh, Director of Government Affairs for the National Association of Rural Health Clinics.

“As the nation’s largest network of primary care providers, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) and Rural Health Clinics (RHC) provide a wide array of services in underserved areas of the country, both rural and urban,” said Cheri Rinehart, President and CEO of Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers (PACHC).

Thompson holds dual master’s degrees in therapeutic recreation from Pennsylvania State University and health science from Temple University. His experience as an emergency medical technician, rescue technician and firefighter brought him closer to the expertise of saving lives. Today, he spends most of his time using his legislative powers to bring about change and healthcare will always be one of his priorities.

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