A bipartisan group of lawmakers reintroduced the Temporary Reciprocity to Ensure Access to Treatment (TREAT) Act (S. 168, H.R. 708) on Feb. 2, which would provide temporary licensing reciprocity for health care professionals for any type of services provided to a patient located in another state during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Bob Latta (R-Ohio) co-sponsored the bills.
In a letter thanking the members of Congress for reintroducing the legislation, AAMC Chief Public Policy Officer Karen Fisher, JD, said, “The AAMC supports the TREAT Act because it provides important flexibility during an emergency to ensure that patients receive the care they need. This would have many important benefits for patients, including providing access and continuity of care for mental health treatment, oncology patients, and others with serious or life-threatening conditions, and allowing health systems to draw on available licensed clinicians to meet the demands of a surge as outbreaks continue to arise.”
Currently, health care professionals must maintain licenses for each state in which they provide services. The TREAT Act would enable licensed health care professionals in good standing to care for patients — both in-person and through telehealth visits — from any state during the current public health emergency without jeopardizing their state licensure or facing potential penalties for unauthorized practice of medicine. A similar version of the TREAT Act was introduced in the last Congress [see Washington Highlights, Aug. 7 and Sept. 25].