Following Calls from Sinema, Federal Government Agrees to Cover Tele-Health Services for Arizona Seniors and Behavioral Health Organizations

May 1, 2020

PHOENIX – Following calls from Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) agreed to expand coverage of telehealth services for Arizona seniors and critical behavioral health care organizations. Previously, video-telehealth medical services were covered under Medicare, but many audio-telehealth services were not. Sinema called on CMS to close that gap so all Arizona seniors have access to health services during the coronavirus outbreak. 
“I am glad to see the federal government do its part to ensure Arizonans are staying safe at home by allowing Arizona seniors to access non-emergency medical and mental health services over the phone during this public health crisis. ” said Sinema. 
Sinema recently hosted a tele-town hall for Arizona seniors with Arizona AARP. Sinema answered questions from Arizona seniors on the coronavirus outbreak and discussed coronavirus-scams, the importance of social distancing, coronavirus relief efforts, and how seniors can access help if they are in need. Seniors on the call also relayed experiencing depression and social isolation due to the pandemic. Sinema’s call for action and CMS’ decision today ensures Medicare beneficiaries can access services for both their physical and mental health.
Sinema recently urged Congressional leadership to include the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, which designates “988” as a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline, in future coronavirus legislation.
In an effort to raise awareness, Sinema recently partnered with the Arizona Attorney General to alert Arizona seniors of COVID-19 related scams and provide seniors with helpful resources in case they are victims of bad actors. Sinema also urged the Federal Trade Commission to protect Arizona seniors from COVID-19 related scams
On April 1, 2020, Sinema urged the IRS to follow the CARES Act law, after the agency released guidance contradicting provisions of the CARES Act that states Social Security beneficiaries do not have to file taxes to receive their assistance. After calls from Sinema, the IRS issued new guidance that seniors and individuals with disabilities who receive Social Security benefits will get their rebate checks without filing a tax return. 
Sinema also recently wrote the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) urging them to allow Arizona seniors to receive certain Medicare Part B injections and infusions at home instead of a doctor’s office to protect them during the coronavirus outbreak. Additionally, Sinema recently cosponsored legislation backed by the Arizona Area Agencies on Aging and patient advocacy organizations that makes coronavirus treatments and care more affordable and increases Arizona seniors’ access to home-delivered meals.
Sinema has also added a resources page to her website,, for Arizonans looking for the latest information on coronavirus.