Latta: Bipartisan TREAT Act removes barriers to fully fight COVID-19


WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday, Congressman Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI12), both members of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, along with Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) re-introduced legislation that allows any health care professional in good standing with a valid practitioners’ license to render services— including telehealth — anywhere for the duration of the coronavirus 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 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.

“Throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth is making it easier for Americans to receive needed medical attention, all without leaving their homes,” Latta said. “If a health care provider is able to care for a patient remotely, they should be able to so without having to jump through regulatory hoops. I’m proud to work with Senators Blunt and Murphy, as well as my friend Congresswoman Dingell, to introduce the TREAT Act – a bipartisan solution working to ensure patients get the care they need without added complications. It’s a win-win for patients and health care providers across the country.”

The TREAT Act would:

Enable health care professionals licensed in good standing to care for patients (whether in-person or through telehealth visits) from any state during the current national public health emergency without jeopardizing their state licensure or facing potential penalties for unauthorized practice of medicine;

Require the health care professional to obtain oral or written acknowledgment of services;

Require health care professionals who use this authority to notify a state or local licensing board within 30 days of first practicing in a state other than where licensed or certified;

Preclude any service that is otherwise prohibited by a state where a patient is located and require adherence to specified prescribing requirements of the state;

Allow authority for a state where a health care professional has practiced under this reciprocity measure to pursue investigations and disciplinary actions, including the ability to exclude a clinician from practicing in the state under the Act;

Not include health care professionals otherwise licensed under a compact agreement or licensed in the state where the patient resides; and

Apply the licensure reciprocity for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency, followed by a 180-day phase out period.

To see organizations that support the legislation, visit sent-trib.com.