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National Telehealth Policy Resource Center Blog

New HITEQ Analysis of Health Center Clinical Quality Measures & Telehealth

By | National Telehealth Policy Resource Center Blog

The Health Information Technology, Evaluation, and Quality Center (HITEQ) published an analysis on the performance of clinical quality measure for certain services by health centers who use telehealth to provide remote clinical care services compared to health centers that do not. According to the HITEQ Center analysis of data from the 2017 Uniform Data System (UDS) survey, health centers who use telehealth reported on average a slightly higher clinical quality measure performance for certain services than health centers who did not use telehealth—an indicator that the use of telehealth is at least comparable to in-person delivered care, if not slightly better.
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CMS Drops 2019 Telehealth Fact Sheet for Medicare

By | National Telehealth Policy Resource Center Blog

The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released its 2019 Medicare Fact Sheet for Telehealth Services which outlines what services the program will reimburse if delivered via telehealth.  The 2019 Fact Sheet outlines the changes that were made by two pieces of legislation passed in 2018, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (BBA) and the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act (Support Act).  Both Acts expanded where services delivered via telehealth could take place.
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Federal Policies Race Towards Telehealth Expansion

By | National Telehealth Policy Resource Center Blog
Bill to Reinstate Net Neutrality Sees Progress

 

Last month, members of Congress introduced H.R. 1644, known as the Save the Internet Act of 2019. If passed, the bill would reinstate the net neutrality rules enacted by the Open Internet Order in 2015 which were subsequently redacted in 2017 by the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Restoring Internet Freedom Order. The act would also prohibit the FCC from reissuing the same or a new order that is substantially the same as the Restoring Internet Freedom Order. The three rules that would be reinstated with the passing of the Act prevent broadband internet services from blocking or throttling lawful content, applications, services, and non-harmful devices and prohibit paid prioritization of broadband services.

H.R. 1644 was introduced to the House on March 8th and has since passed review (yeas 18, nays 11) by the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. As of March 26th, the bill is awaiting further action by members of the House. In a memorandum, Chairman Pallone of the Committee on Energy and Commerce stated that the repeal of the 2015 Open Internet Order removed protections for people with disabilities and the assurance of fair access. By reinstating the order, he stated the FCC will again have the authority to prohibit blocking, throttling and paid prioritization as well as to stop future harmful practices by broadband internet service providers.
Further information on the progress of H.R. 1644 is available through the Congress website.

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EMS Licensure Compact Gaining Traction in State Legislation

By | National Telehealth Policy Resource Center Blog

A recent trend among states is the introduction of legislation to adopt interstate licensure compacts.  Interstate licensure compacts allow special licensure or exceptions to state licensing requirements for specific health care providers to practice across state lines in other states that have adopted the same compact as long as certain requirements are met. Current compacts include the Physical Therapy Compact, Nurse Licensure Compact, Interstate Medical Licensure Compact and the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact.  One such compact that has received less attention, but has been gaining traction lately is the Recognition of EMS Personnel Licensure Interstate CompAct (REPLICA). REPLICA is a multi-state compact that allows emergency medical services (EMS) personnel in REPLICA member states to respond to calls and transport patients across state lines and provide emergency services before returning to their home state without having to apply for a separate license in another REPLICA member state. It is not considered a separate license, but rather is an extension of a privilege for EMS personnel to practice on a short-term, intermittent basis under certain circumstances including:

  • Response areas that cross state lines
  • Staffing for large scale responses that are not at the level of a governor’s declaration of a disaster
  • Staffing for large scale planned special events such as concerts or sporting events

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In March, Telehealth Developments Roar In Like a Lion….

By | National Telehealth Policy Resource Center Blog

Newly Released RAND Reports

 

Two new reports were recently released by RAND.  The first report, Experiences of Medicaid Programs and Health Centers in Implementing Telehealth was commissioned by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) to explore the experiences of state Medicaid programs and federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) in utilizing telehealth.  RAND researchers conducted telephone discussions with representatives of seven state Medicaid programs and 19 urban and rural FQHCs in the same states.  The findings from the report included that Medicaid policies varied across numerous areas and that FQHCs encountered barriers in reimbursement, workflow and provider willingness.  The second report was also commissioned by ASPE and is the Report to Congress: Current State of Technology-Enable Collaborative Learning and Capacity Building Models.  The report was required under the 2016 “Expanding Capacity for Health Outcomes (ECHO)” law.  The findings included that evidence of the impact of ECHO on patient and provider outcomes remains modest and an absence of standardization in the collection of information.
Visit the RAND website for more information.

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Visiting Nurse Associations Use Telehealth Programs to Improve Home Health Care

By | National Telehealth Policy Resource Center Blog

Last year, Nebraska and Colorado based Visiting Nurse Associations (VNA) partnered with telehealth software company Health Recovery Solutions (HRS) to launch pilot health intervention programs to improve care management and coordination among patients receiving home health services, especially those living with heart disease. The programs are designed to improve care management and coordination by complementing traditional home health care.
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