Blunt Rochester, Burgess Introduce Bill to Increase Access to Telehealth

WASHINGTON - Today, Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) and Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-Texas), introduced the Telehealth Improvement for Kids’ Essential Services (TIKES) Act of 2020. The bill would provide guidance and strategies to states on effectively integrating telehealth into their Medicaid program and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), review the impact of telehealth on patient health and encourage better collaboration. 


“The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed for us to make rapid progress on expanding access to telehealth so children and families across the country, especially those in rural and underserved communities, face fewer barriers to accessing medical care,” said Rep. Blunt Rochester. “With the introduction of the TIKES Act, we can continue that progress by bringing better alignment and clarity to Medicaid telehealth policies, as well as provide guidance to state Medicaid programs on the opportunities telehealth services can have for children. I’d like to thank my colleague, Congressman Burgess, for joining me in this critical effort.”


“Amidst the pain and suffering that our nation has endured throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, a major takeaway has been the advantage of telehealth. There is a convenience factor to not having to take time to physically transport yourself to the doctor’s office and have your child sit in a waiting room with other potentially sick patients,” said Rep. Burgess. “This bipartisan legislation will improve utilization of telehealth by requiring the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide guidance to states on how to make the most of telehealth options in their Medicaid and CHIP programs. Additionally, it directs studies to gather data that can help inform future telehealth policy. I urge my fellow members to support this legislation that will help build upon the telehealth foundation that we have built this year.”


“I commend the leadership of Congresswoman Blunt Rochester and Congressman Burgess in responding to issues raised by health systems like Nemours by introducing this important legislation. Telehealth has facilitated the delivery of high-quality, efficient care to millions of American children. The public health challenge of COVID-19 highlighted its effectiveness and proved its value as a permanent part of the US healthcare system,” said R. Lawrence Moss, MD, FACS, FAAP, president and CEO of Nemours Children’s Health System.


The TIKES Act of 2020 would:

  • Provide states with guidance and strategies to increase telehealth access for Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) populations
  • Require a Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) study examining data and information on the impact of telehealth on the Medicaid population 
  • Require a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study reviewing coordination among federal agency telehealth policies and examine opportunities for better collaboration, as well as opportunities for telehealth expansion into early care and education settings 


The full text of the bill can be found here and the one-pager can be found here.




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