Legislation would expand telehealth services

Legislation would expand telehealth services

A bipartisan bill recently introduced in the U.S. House would expand telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Knowing the Efficiency and Efficacy of Permanent (KEEP) Telehealth Options Act of 2020 would instruct the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to study and report to Congress on the expansion of telehealth services during the pandemic, the increase of the services nationwide, and recommendations for enhancing these services.

GAO would be required to report on the efficiency, management, and success of expanded telehealth programs and identify potential fraud risks, including fraudulent robocalls. It also would include recommendations for improvements to telehealth programs that would reduce fraud, expand access, and make services permanent.

HHS would be required to report on the availability of expanded telehealth services and new provider reimbursement options. The report would include a review of the public health impacts of expansion, how telehealth services are providing mental and behavioral health care, and demographics such as rural, minority, low-income, and elderly populations.

Congress will use this data to legislate a permanent expansion of telehealth.

The bill was introduced by Reps. Cindy Axne (D-IA) and Troy Balderson (R-OH) and is endorsed by more than 20 organizations.