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Lawmakers Want a Full Study of Telehealth During the COVID-19 Crisis

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A bill before Congress calls on the Health and Human Services Department and the Government Accountability Office to produce separate studies on how telehealth has been used to address the coronavirus pandemic.

While Congress is under mounting pressure to extend telehealth coverage past the coronavirus pandemic, some lawmakers want to make sure the evidence is there to support those moves.

A bill introduced in the House last week calls on both the Health and Human Services Department and the Government Accountability Office to conduct separate studies of telehealth use and outcomes during the ongoing emergency. Known as the KEEP Telehealth Options Act, the bill aims to give lawmakers a detailed accounting of the connected health landscape.

“COVID-19 has unexpectedly pulled us into a demonstration of how effective and important telehealth options are for older Iowans or those who live farther from a health center,” Rep. Cindy Axne (D-IA), who co-sponsored the bill with Rep. Troy Balderson (R-OH), said in a press release. “What we have now is a golden opportunity to document how telehealth services were implemented and where improvements can be made so we can chart a path to keeping these options available for patients who won’t stop needing them when this pandemic is over.”

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