Monthly Archives

October 2018

Issue in Focus: California Department Health Care Services Solicits Feedback on Major Telehealth Policy Changes

By | National Telehealth Policy Resource Center Blog

The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) released two draft proposals impacting telehealth policy in the state’s Medicaid program known as Medi-Cal.  The Department is soliciting feedback from interested stakeholders on both proposals.

California State Plan Amendment

The first proposal is a State Plan Amendment (SPA) intended for submission to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), that provides clarification as to when services provided outside of the “Four Walls” of a federally qualified health center (FQHC) or  rural health center (RHC) is eligible for the prospective payment system (PPS).  It is proposed that all such services be paid the PPS when rendered to homebound, migratory, seasonal workers and homeless patients, patients in the hospital, dental services rendered to established patients by a contracted dental provider, and telehealth services provided to its established patients when certain requirements are met.

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CMS Proposes Telehealth Expansion for Medicare Advantage Plans

By | Recent Telehealth News

Article Author: Eric Wicklund

Source: mHealth Intelligence

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is looking to expand telehealth access for members enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans.

As part of a 362-page proposal issued on October 26, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is proposing to eliminate geographical restrictions on telehealth access in MA plans by 2020, enabling those in urban areas to use connected health technology. The proposal would also give members more locations to access care, including their own home.

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Updated & Redesigned Fall 2018 Edition of the 50 State Telehealth Laws and Reimbursement Policies Report

By | National Telehealth Policy Resource Center Blog

An updated Fall 2018 edition of CCHP’s “State Telehealth Laws and Reimbursement Policies” Report is available today!  The Fall 2018 edition offers policymakers, health advocates and other interested health care professionals a freshly redesigned compendium of state telehealth laws, regulations and Medicaid policies.  The new report features the same detailed telehealth policy information (with references) found in previous reports, but in a fresh new format with policies grouped into three primary categories (Medicaid Reimbursement, Private Payer Laws, and Professional Regulation). This report was made possible through generous support from the Health Services & Resources Administration and the California Health Care Foundation.

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Physician Resistance to CMS Proposal for Virtual Check-Ins

By | National Telehealth Policy Resource Center Blog

On July 12, 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a proposal of revisions to the Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) for CY 2019. The proposal includes reimbursement for a virtual check-in service intended to “restore the doctor-patient relationship” by motivating physicians to communicate with patients outside of the office. The calls would help patients decide if they need to schedule an in-person appointment. CMS proposes to reimburse physicians $14 per five to ten-minute check-in call, and according to a Kaiser Health News article, physicians worry that patients would be required to pay 20% in cost-sharing.
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Federal Telehealth Initiatives Advance as More Telehealth Studies Reveal New Evidence

By | National Telehealth Policy Resource Center Blog
Federal Spending Bill Includes Funding for Rural Veterans Telehealth Programs


A Federal appropriations bill for fiscal year 2019 was recently approved by the President. H.R. 6157appropriates funding until December 7, 2018 and includes $1,000,000 for the provision of mental and other health services to veterans and residents of rural areas. The grants are part of the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program and funds may be used to purchase and implement telehealth services, including pilots and demonstrations on the use of electronic health records for the coordination of rural veteran care.

States are eligible for the grants when they provide assurances that the state has developed, or is in the process of developing, a state rural health care plan that creates one or more rural health networks, promotes regionalization of rural health services, and improves access to hospital and other health services for rural residents. The plan must be developed in consultation with the hospital association of the state, rural hospitals, and the State Office of Rural Health. States must also designate rural nonprofit or public hospitals or facilities as critical access hospitals. Critical access hospitals must meet specific geographic and facility requirements.

The full text of the bill is available through the Congress website.

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Telemedicine Network Helps Virginia Hospitals Coordinate Care

By | Recent Telehealth News

Article Author: Eric Wicklund

Source: mHealth Intelligence

A new telemedicine platform is giving northern Virginia’s Culpeper Medical Center the opportunity to triage patients with cardiac or vascular issues before sending them, if necessary, on to the experts at UVA Medical Center.

Culpeper Medical Center, part of the Novant Health UVA health system, is using connected care technology to link its Emergency Department with specialists at UVA’s Heart & Vascular Center in Charlottesville, roughly an hour away. The specialists, using the video feed and the patient’s medical record, can consult with the patient and the patient’s family before deciding on a course of treatment, which could keep the patient at Culpeper or send him/her on to UVA for emergency or scheduled surgery.

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Congress Continues Fighting Opioid Epidemic Through the Introduction of the Mental Health Telemedicine Expansion Act

By | National Telehealth Policy Resource Center Blog

Congress continues with legislation designed to combat the national opioid epidemic with the introduction of H.R. 6781, the Mental Health Telemedicine Expansion Act, sponsored by Rep. Suzan DelBane (D-WA). The bill was introduced mid-September, almost a week prior to the Senate passing of the comprehensive opioid package, H.R. 6. H.R. 6781 would amend the Social Security Act by removing Medicare originating site location requirements for mental health telehealth services. These requirements restrict telehealth originating sites to areas designated as rural health professional shortage areas, counties that are not included in a Metropolitan Statistical Area, and entities that participate in a Federal telemedicine demonstration project.
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