Rep. Elise Stefanik on Wednesday backed a measure meant to expand telehealth services for patients and medical providers especially in rural areas after a sharp increase in the service during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The bill would expand access to telehealth services and programs by ending geographic restrictions that have been in place and allow health centers with federal qualification and rural health clinics to provide telehealth services. 

A waiver on restrictions would be waived during public health emergencies as well. 

At the state level, restrictions on telehealth services were lifted during the pandemic, enabling doctors and other medical providers to meet with patients virtually and continue to receive reimbursement. Officials at the state level have also called for these changes to be made permanent.

“North Country residents, especially our seniors, rely on telehealth services to keep them in touch with their healthcare providers," Stefanik said. "I am proud to join this bipartisan effort to increase flexibilities for telehealth providers and improve access to healthcare services for our rural residents."