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S. 57 (117th): ACCESS Act

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on May 17, 2021.

Advancing Connectivity during the Coronavirus to Ensure Support for Seniors Act or the ACCESS Act

This bill provides funding to increase access to telehealth services and virtual visits in skilled and other nursing facilities during the COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019) emergency. The bill designates the funding as emergency spending, which is exempt from discretionary spending limits.

Specifically, the bill provides additional funding for FY2021, to remain available through FY2022, to the Telehealth Resource Center Program to address barriers to telehealth faced by skilled and other nursing facilities. The Office for the Advancement of Telehealth within the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy in the Health Resources and Services Administration manages this program.

In addition, the bill provides funding for FY2021, to remain available through one month after the emergency period ends, to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for grants to nursing facilities to support virtual visits for residents during the COVID-19 emergency. HHS must develop relevant guidance for these grants within 15 days. HHS must also coordinate with the Federal Communications Commission on these grants.