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Iowa House approves payment parity for virtual mental health services

DES MOINES — The Iowa House has unanimously passed legislation that would make a pandemic era policy for telehealth services permanent.

Last year, the governor used her emergency powers to temporarily make insurance reimbursement rates equal for in-person and virtual visits for mental health services. Representative Joel Fry of Osceola said the bill would continue the requirement that rates be equal, whether the appointment is face-to-face or conducted online.

“Over the course of the last year with Covid, we have all learned the importance of telehealth,” Fry said, “and its ability to provide health care to Iowans, regardless of where they live in the state.”

Fry said this kind of reimbursement parity for mental health services is already law in ten states and many others are considering similar legislation. The bill passed on a 95-1 vote and goes to the Senate for consideration.

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