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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers are considering whether insurance companies should be required to pay health care providers the same amount for telemedicine services as for in-person visits.

The Topeka Capital Journal reports that a committee studying the issue is expected to make recommendations to the Legislature before its 2018 session begins in January. The panel had a hearing Thursday and Friday.

Advocates believe greater use of telemedicine could increase access to health care in rural areas.

Director Eve-Lynn Nelson of the Center for Telemedicine and Telehealth at the University of Kansas Medical Center said telemedicine can reduce costs and make providers more productive.

But Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City lobbyist Coni Fries said primary care physicians are paid more because they’re expected to continue managing a patient’s care.