August 04, 2020
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, and Chris Murphy (Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, introduced legislation that allows any health care practitioner or professional in good standing with a valid practitioners’ license to render services—including telehealth—anywhere for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, health care professionals must maintain licenses in each state in which they render services. While most states have expanded licensing rules and reciprocity, their actions have been varied, inconsistent, and time-limited, which has created licensing barriers to a comprehensive COVID-19 response. The Temporary Reciprocity to Ensure Access to Treatment (TREAT) Act would provide temporary licensing reciprocity for all practitioners or professionals, including those who treat both physical and mental health conditions, in all states for all types of services (in-person and telehealth) during the COVID-19 response and for future national emergencies.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created unique challenges for our health care system, like reaching patients who are advised to avoid clinics and hospitals, allowing students to continue care when they’re away from campuses, or speeding reinforcements to areas with a high number of cases,” said Blunt. “The TREAT Act responds to those challenges by increasing flexibility for providers to care for patients wherever they are. The bill maintains all the safeguards patients should expect, while eliminating bureaucratic hurdles that impede access to care. It’s the right approach to make sure we keep people connected with their providers and allow frontline workers to lend support in areas where they’re needed most.”
“COVID-19 has hammered our already fragile health care system, and the last thing our frontline workers need is more bureaucratic red tape. We should be doing everything in our power to make sure any health care provider, in good standing and with a valid license to practice medicine, can provide services in any location throughout the pandemic,” said Murphy. “That’s why we are introducing the TREAT Act, which provides a temporary uniform licensing standard so health care workers can help those in need, including through telehealth, regardless of the patient’s physical location. With over 140,000 Americans dead and millions more infected, we must be all hands on deck to contain COVID-19.”
The TREAT Act would: