During HELP Committee Hearing, Rosen Questions Medical Experts About the Roles of Data and Telehealth In Combating COVID-19

Watch Senator Rosen’s full remarks here.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, during a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), Senator Jacky Rosen asked Dr. Joneigh S. Khaldun, Chief Medical Executive and Chief Deputy Director for Health for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, about the role of data and information in successfully combating the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the importance of telehealth programs in treating current and future patients.

Scientists around the globe are frantically working to gain a better understanding of COVID-19—how the virus specifically attacks a patient’s immune system, what treatments work, and how to best prevent infection,” said Senator Rosen. “To make sure that we do not have gaps in research and information on how the virus impacts a wide range of patients, I introduced, along with Senator Rubio, the Ensuring Understanding of COVID-19 to Protect Public Health Act. This bipartisan bill would direct NIH to conduct a longitudinal study of patients that includes diversity among gender, race, ethnicity, geography, and age. We’re looking at both the short-term and long-term impacts, along with interventions. This would be reported publicly on a regular basis so that all researchers and public health officials have the latest information.”

“As a public health official directly dealing with the current pandemic, what challenges have you faced in getting comprehensive information about the latest research on COVID-19, and could you please speak to how not having robust data available hurts not only ongoing research, but patient care? Senator Rosen asked Dr. Khaldun.

“What recommendations do you have for how to make it easier for doctors and public health officials to have the most current and comprehensive data?” Senator Rosen asked in a follow-up.

“Last week this committee had a great hearing on telehealth, it showed how vital this tool is in caring for patients not only during the pandemic, but also after,” Senator Rosen continued. “Along with many of my colleagues, we support continuing the flexibilities for telehealth reimbursement that we have allowed through Medicare with the passage of the CARES Act.”

“From your experience during this pandemic, how has telehealth improved patient outcome and people’s ability to receive care?” Senator Rosen’s line of questioning concluded.

BACKGROUND: Senator Rosen introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Ensuring Understanding of COVID-19 to Protect Public Health Act, along with Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). This legislation would direct the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct a longitudinal study on mild, moderate, and severe cases of COVID-19 to gain a full understanding of both the short and long-term health impacts of the novel coronavirus. Identical companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO), Michael Burgess (R-TX), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), and Brett Guthrie (R-KY).

Senator Rosen voted in support of the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARESAct.

Rosen is a co-sponsor of the CONNECT for Health Act, bipartisan legislation that would expand the use of telehealth and remote patient monitoring services in order to provide cost savings and quality care. 

Recently, Rosen joined a bipartisan letter to Senate Leadership urging them to make permanent the provisions from the CONNECT for Health Act that were included in the CARES Act to expand access to telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries during the pandemic.

In March, Rosen joined her Senate colleagues in a bipartisan letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging for increased telehealth resources and support.