WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) introduced the bipartisan Knowing the Efficiency and Efficacy of Permanent (KEEP) Telehealth Options Act of 2020. This legislation would require the federal government to study the actions taken to expand access to telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic and report on how to improve the quality of and access to these services. Identical companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Troy Balderson (R-OH) and Cindy Axne (D-IA) in June.
“The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need and demand for reliable and accessible telehealth services. Unfortunately, there are still too many communities across the nation – including in Nevada – where telehealth is difficult to access,” said Senator Rosen. “This bipartisan legislation will help expand and improve telehealth services, and increase the number of Nevadans who will have the opportunity to utilize this technology to protect their health and well-being.”
“Expanded telehealth services have allowed millions of Americans to access the medical care they need during this pandemic, especially those in rural communities. As a strong advocate for telehealth, I am proud to introduce this bipartisan, common-sense legislation. It would provide valuable information that is needed to determine how we can improve these services to save lives,” said Senator Fischer.
BACKGROUND: This bipartisan legislation would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to study and produce a public report on the actions taken to expand access to telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic under the Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP programs. Additionally, the legislation would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to report to Congress on the efficiencies, management, successes, and failures of the expansion of telehealth services during the COVID-19 outbreak. These studies could then be used by Congress to support and inform long-term flexibilities for telehealth.
Last December, Rosen co-sponsored the CONNECT for Health Act, a piece of bipartisan legislation that would expand the use of telehealth and remote patient monitoring services in order to provide cost savings and quality care.
Last month, Rosen joined a bipartisan letter led by Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) 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.
Earlier this month, Rosen joined a bipartisan letter calling for the continuation of expanded access to telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries. The letter asks Congressional leadership to make permanent several temporary provisions in federal law that Congress passed earlier this year in order to provide greater access to care during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.