Bipartisan TIKES Act would improve telehealth access for kids

This week, U.S. Reps Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., and Dr. Michael C. Burgess, R-Texas, introduced legislation aimed at increasing telehealth access, particularly for children.  

The Telehealth Improvement for Kids’ Essential Services, or TIKES, Act of 2020 would require the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to issue guidance to states about how to increase access to telehealth under Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.   

It would also mandate a study on the impact of telehealth on healthcare access, utilization, cost and outcomes and would require the Comptroller General to submit a report evaluating collaboration between federal agencies with respect to telehealth services furnished under the Medicaid or CHIP program to those under the age of 18.  

“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 in a statement.

“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