APA Praises CMS Action to Increase Telehealth Access via Phones

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 1, 2020 – The American Psychiatric Association (APA) today praises action taken this week by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to increase access to telehealth for Americans who lack the required video technology or live in areas without reliable broadband access. The APA has pushed for this increased, audio-only access for patients who have older phones that do not have a camera or lack internet access.

“We applaud CMS for taking this step to further increase access to telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic by allowing for audio-only visits,” said APA President Jeffrey Geller, M.D., M.P.H. “This allows us to better treat our patients while respecting guidelines on physical distancing. The full impact of the new CMS rule change is not fully known, so we are continuing to evaluate its implications for our member physicians.”

Added APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A.: “The APA will continue to advocate for increased access to mental health care during this public health emergency. We commend every action by CMS to increase access to telehealth so that our patients can access vital psychiatric services.”

American Psychiatric Association

The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 38,800 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information please visit www.psychiatry.org.

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