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– Congress is set to debate a bill mandating Medicare coverage for mHealth tools and platforms that focus on relieving chronic pain.

HR 5833, introduced in February by US Rep. Robert Latta (R-OH), would amend the Social Security Act to allow Medicare coverage for certain digital therapeutic services. The bill would reimburse telemental health providers for psychological evaluations prior to the use of electrical nerve stimulators, which could include mHealth wearables.

The bill’s goal is to use telehealth to give rural and remote residents access to a care provider who can then prescribe a digital therapeutic.

“Due to the lack of medical services in rural areas, it can be difficult for people with chronic pain to travel long distances to access non-opioid therapies,” Latta said in a press release. “This is especially true for treatments like spinal cord stimulation (SCS), which require a patient to get a psychological evaluation prior to receiving treatment. This extra step can further delay pain relief for patients living in remote areas with limited access to mental health services.”

“HR 5833 improves access to SCS, an FDA approved non-opioid pain relief therapy, by expanding the use of telehealth for a psychological evaluation,” he added. “Utilizing telehealth will make it easier and quicker for people to receive the care they need, regardless of where they live.”

The bill also aims to improve access to connected health platforms that present alternatives to opioids, thus taking on the nation’s ongoing opioid abuse epidemic. These platforms also help to connect patients to their care providers and other resources when and where they’re most needed, and enable providers to monitor and modify care management plans.

Source: Congressman Wants Medicare to Cover Telehealth for Chronic Pain Relief