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ATA Recruits Patient Advocates to Help Lobby for Telehealth Expansion

Analysis  |  By Eric Wicklund  
   September 23, 2022

The Patient Voices for Telehealth Coalition, launched by the American Telemedicine Association's ATA Action, aims to add the patient and patient advocates to the effort to make pandemic telehealth waivers permanent.

The American Telemedicine Association is enlisting patients in its effort to make pandemic telehealth waivers permanent and expand coverage for and access to virtual care.

ATA Action, the organization's lobbying arm, has announced the launch of the Patient Voices for Telehealth Coalition (PVTC), a collection of state, regional and national groups that represent or advocate for the patient in healthcare.

“To secure access to virtual care, the patient voice must be front and center in the debate for telehealth permanency,” Kyle Zebley, ATA Action's executive director and the ATA's senior vice president of public policy, said in a press release. “We are launching the Patient Voices for Telehealth Coalition to ensure patients continue to play a central role in shaping a future of healthcare that provides all Americans with safe, quality care where and when they need it.”

Supporters have long argued that the patient's perspective is missing in healthcare policy, and that healthcare leaders should pay more attention to what their patients have to say as they develop the health system of the future.

For telehealth advocates, the focus is on waivers enacted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services during the pandemic to expand Medicare coverage of telehealth and give more providers the freedom to use the technology. Many have reported improved access and clinical outcomes as a result of those waivers.

Initial members of the PVTC are:

  • Allergy and Asthma Network  
  • ALS Association
  • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
  • Cancer Support Community
  • Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
  • EveryLife Foundation
  • Faces & Voices of Recovery
  • Immune Deficiency Foundation
  • National Hemophilia Foundation
  • National Organization for Rare Disorders
  • National Psoriasis Foundation
  • Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy
  • Telehealth Equity Coalition
  • The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

According to the ATA, PVTC members will "attend regular policy meetings with ATA Action members, government relations teams and ATA Action staff to cross-share challenges, opportunities, strategies and solutions to advance telehealth policy, and have access to a growing network of partners to collaborate with on specific advocacy actions at the state and national levels."

Eric Wicklund is the Innovation and Technology Editor for HealthLeaders.


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