Telehealth Advocacy



AAPM&R is advocating for expanded telehealth innovations and enhanced ways for physiatrists to advance patient care.

During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), physiatrists have relied on several key flexibilities such as the elimination of geographic restrictions based on patient location, payment parity for telehealth services and coverage of audio-only services when providing necessary telehealth services to patients. Employers and health plans have also been able to provide pre-deductible coverage of telehealth services for individuals with High-Deductible Health Plans with Health Savings Accounts (HDHP-HSA).  Your Academy has taken an active role in advocating for Congress to keep these widely supported telehealth waivers in place. In response to our advocacy efforts, a two-year extension of Medicare and commercial market telehealth flexibilities was packaged in the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill signed into law on December 23, 2022. AAPM&R continues to advocate for permanent telehealth reform and comprehensive coverage. We recognize the two-year extension as being a positive first step in this direction!

On June 17, AAPM&R completed our second virtual Day on Capitol Hill reaching more than 50 offices. One advocacy priority included expanding telehealth access after the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) to increase access to rehabilitation services. Here is our one-page letter on removing barriers to patient-centered care.  AAPM&R has also participated in various sign on and comment letters, supporting coverage of telehealth during the public health emergency and beyond, including:

Telehealth White Paper

In June 2023, AAPM&R released a white paper, Telehealth in PM&R: Past, Present and Future in Clinical practice and Opportunities for Translational Research. AAPM&R recognizes the significant value telehealth holds in delivering and receiving care and the importance of exploring forward-thinking strategies to address the opportunities and challenges in using technology to provide services outside of traditional face-to-face healthcare. In response, the Academy convened an expert group of leaders to examine telehealth innovation across various practice settings and areas of care unique to the PM&R specialty. This white paper summarizes the cutting-edge use of telehealth in our specialty, identifies current knowledge deficits and technological limitations, outlines the strength of available evidence, and explores new and transformative opportunities for PM&R to advance translational research and patient care. Academy members are encouraged to share this white paper with your colleagues and interested stakeholders.

Alliance for Connected Care

To advance our advocacy strategies in telehealth, The Academy has joined more than 30 patient and provider groups as a member of the Alliance for Connected Care Advisory Board. The Alliance has several key advocacy priorities that align with AAPM&R including expanding access to telehealth services by removing geographic and site limitations and ensuring appropriate reimbursement of providers for the delivery of telehealth. The Alliance has made many resources available to help keep us up to date on the current federal and state telehealth regulations: