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House again votes for reimbursement parity for virtual mental health services

DES MOINES — For a second time this year, the Iowa House has voted to require insurance companies to provide equal reimbursement rates for in-person and virtual mental health services.

The insurance industry opposes the move and it stalled in the Senate. House members voted to attached their proposal to a bill that calls for a study of how to better track how many inpatient psychiatric beds are available in Iowa hospitals.

Representative Eddie Andrews of Johnston says the study be done by year’s end, so legislators can implement any proposed changes in 2022.

“We need to do something about mental health,” Andrews says. “As a matter of fact, two years ago I had zero desire to run for office or any knowledge, but what moved me is the changes that we can make to our mental health system.”

The House decision to merge the two issues into one package will force senators to either agree to both proposals, abandon both, or form a 10-member conference committee to hammer out a compromise.

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