Sinema Urges Federal Government to Cover Tele-Health Services for Arizona Seniors During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Apr 29, 2020

PHOENIX – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema and a bipartisan group of colleagues wrote the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) urging the agency to expand coverage of telehealth services for Arizona seniors. Currently, video-telehealth medical services are covered under Medicare, but audio-telehealth services are not. Sinema called on CMS to close that gap so all Arizona seniors have access to health services during the coronavirus outbreak. 
“Staying home is key to slowing the spread of coronavirus and keeping Arizonans safe. We must allow Arizona seniors to access non-emergency medical services over the phone during this public health crisis” said Sinema. 

During the coronavirus outbreak, CMS is covering tele-video services, allowing Arizona seniors to receive medical services via tele-video technologies. However, medical services over the telephone are not currently covered. Many Arizona seniors are unable to use tele-video services, and can only be reached via telephone. It is critical CMS covers telephone medical services in addition to tele-health services so all Arizona seniors, especially those lacking reliable internet services for tele-video, can safely receive the care they need during the coronavirus pandemic. 
Read Sinema’s full letter HERE.
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. 
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.