Monthly Archives

September 2018

Senate Passes Opioid Crisis Response Package With Changes for Telehealth

By | National Telehealth Policy Resource Center Blog

Last week, the Senate voted on H.R. 6, the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018, which passed with a 99-1 vote on Monday, September 17th. The package of bills is an attempt to combat the opioid epidemic and includes over 70 bills providing for research, treatment, and prevention related to opioids and substance use disorder by making changes to state Medicaid programs and Medicare requirements. Included are several telehealth provisions for improving patient access and easing the exchange of critical data.
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Using Telemedicine to Combat the Opioid Epidemic

By | Recent Telehealth News

Article Author: ADM Brett P. Giroir

Source: Health IT Buzz

Combatting the opioid crisis is a top priority for the Trump Administration and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  We are making progress. Just last week we released the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)data, which showed significantly more people received treatment for substance use disorder in 2017 than in 2016; this was especially true for those with heroin-related opioid use disorders.  In addition, the number of people who initiated use of heroin in 2017 was less than half of the number in 2016.

While these are promising data, we know there is still much more work to be done, especially in rural areas that have been hard hit by the opioid epidemic.  This is particularly true in some rural and remote areas of the country where patients with opioid use disorder (OUD must travel long distances to receive treatment; and there are too few clinicians available to provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT)- an essential component in the treatment of OUD.

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Post-Intervention Effects of Home Blood Pressure Telemonitoring Intervention

By | National Telehealth Policy Resource Center Blog

Researchers from HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research in Minneapolis, Minnesota, recently published an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) looking at the Long-term Outcomes of the Effects of Home Blood Pressure Telemonitoring and Pharmacist Management on Blood Pressure Among Adults with Uncontrolled Hypertension. The research shows that during home blood pressure telemonitoring with pharmacist management, and throughout the 12 months after intervention, participants exhibited lower blood pressure rates compared to usual care. The benefits of home blood pressure monitoring, however, do not sustain over a period of 54 months.
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Stanford Researchers Use an mHealth Patch to Measure Teenager Stress

By | Recent Telehealth News

Article Author: Eric Wicklund

Source: mHealth Intelligence

Stanford University is using an mHealth wearable in a new study looking for a connection between stress and depression in teenagers.

Researchers in Stanford’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science are using the Vital Scout, a Band-Aid-sized digital health patch that uses sensors – including electrocardiogram (ECG) measurement – to continuously monitor heart and respiratory rate, sleep, activity and other functions.

The patch was unveiled by California-based VivaLNK at the CES show in Las Vegas in early 2016 as a consumer product, enabling users to monitor their own stress levels for up to 72 hours at a time through a patch affixed to one’s chest.

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Alabama VA Replaces Mobile Health Units With Telehealth Centers

By | Recent Telehealth News

Article Author: Eric Wicklund

Source: mHealth Intelligence

The Department of Veterans Affairs is replacing mobile health units in Alabama with dedicated telehealth centers in an effort to improve access to healthcare for veterans.

The VA has recently opened telehealth centers at Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital in Demopolis and at the North Mississippi Medical Center in Hamilton. Both are in response to an increase in the number of veterans living in the counties served by those hospitals.

The connected care programs are part of a larger effort by the VA to improve access to healthcare for veterans, no matter where they’re located. This outreach includes an mHealth app platform and the ‘Anywhere to Anywhere’ program, which enables VA-sanctioned healthcare providers to connect with veterans anywhere through telehealth for treatment.

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Changes in Telehealth: New CPT Codes, Federal RFI, Petition to the FCC & Private Sector Research

By | Uncategorized

New Telehealth CPT Codes from AMA

Last week the American Medical Association (AMA) released 335 updates to the CPT codes they use to denote medical and diagnostic services for providers, labs and payers.  The new codes could start to be used beginning Jan. 1, 2019.  Among the changes is the creation of three new remote patient monitoring codes and two interprofessional internet consultation codes.  Medicare currently reimburses for remote patient monitoring code 99091, but has acknowledged that the code is inadequate in defining the full range of remote patient monitoring (RPM) activities and indicated in the CY 2018 finalized physician fee schedule that they would be looking at new codes created by the AMA to guide their reimbursement of RPM moving forward.  In the 2019 proposed Physician Fee Schedule (PFS), Medicare proposes using CPT codes 990X0, 990X1 and 994X9 to denote different aspects of remote physiologic monitoring.  Additionally, they also proposed to utilize codes 99446-99449, 994X0 and 994X6 for interprofessional internet consultations.  It is unclear if any of these codes match the newly created AMA codes, but even if they do not CMS still has time to alter the codes when finalizing their CY 2019 PFS.  AMA’s President Barbara McAneny, MD stated that:
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California Mulls Guidelines for School Telemental Health Programs

By | Recent Telehealth News

Article Author: Eric Wicklund

Source: mHealth Intelligence

California lawmakers are pushing a bill to develop a statewide policy for telehealth and telemedicine that will give students remote access to mental health services.

AB 2315, which is now headed to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, calls on the California Department of Education and Department of Health Care Services to develop connected care guidelines within two years for the state’s public schools, including charter schools.

The bill passed unanimously in both the Senate and State Assembly.

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