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Center for Connected Health Policy

Telehealth Policy This Month

By | Center for Connected Health Policy

Original Source: Center for Connected Health Policy

 

HRSA Program Assistance Letter to Funded Health Centers
In late January the Health Resources Services Administration issued a Program Assistance Letter to highlight some of the significant issues and clarifications for health centers to consider when utilizing telehealth to increase access to patient care.  The letter emphasizes that telehealth is not a service or a service delivery method requiring specific HRSA approval, but rather is a mechanism or means for delivering a health service to health center patients using telecommunications technology or equipment. HRSA encourages health centers to consider the range of issues that would support successful telehealth implementation, including:
  • Provider licensure/scope of practice
  • Facility licensing requirements
  • Equipment/training
  • Privacy/confidentiality & medical records
  • Patient consent
  • Billing and third-party payments
  • Liability Coverage
The letter also provides a table with examples of how a health center would accurately reflect sites, services and service delivery methods in a health center’s scope of project.  For more details, see the full letter.

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January Newsletter

By | Center for Connected Health Policy
Orignal source: Center for Connected Health Policy
NICHM Funds CCHP Policy Research on FQHCs Utilizing Telehealth for Opioid Use Disorder Services
The Center for Connected Health Policy (CCHP) has received funding from the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation (NIHCM) to conduct research on policy changes that need to be made in order for federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) to utilize telehealth to address the opioid crisis. With opioid overdose being classified by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as a nationwide epidemic, and FQHCs often serving as the first line of defense in rural and underserved communities, many clinics are looking to telehealth to help address opioid use disorders (OUD) and deliver Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), a best practice treatment for opioid addiction which combines medication and behavioral therapy.  However, many FQHCs find themselves restricted from establishing a telehealth program to treat OUD given an array of unique and complex policy barriers, both on the federal and state policy levels.  Through this project, CCHP will chronicle the policy obstacles FQHCs face in implementing a telehealth MAT program in 5 to 7 states where the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded grants to address the OUD crisis and which have high incidents of OUD.  The findings will be disseminated through an issue brief which will also provide insight for both FQHCs and policy makers into how to overcome policy barriers in order to implement a sustainable and innovative OUD program utilizing telehealth.

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CCHP Releases CMS Medicare Telehealth Information Resource Compilation

By | Center for Connected Health Policy

Original Source: Center for Connected Health Policy

 

The Center for Connected Health Policy (CCHP) has gathered telehealth related information and guidance issued by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and combined the materials into a single resource compilation. Medicare telehealth policy is generally detailed in the Medicare Learning Network (MLN)’s Booklet on Telehealth Services issued at the beginning of each year. However, occasionally questions are raised regarding telehealth reimbursement that are not addressed in the Booklet, or CMS issues supplemental MLN documents, Medicare manual sections or Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) documents to address specific topic areas that require specialized direction (such as FQHC/RHC billing). The purpose of CCHP’s compilation is to consolidate all of this information into one reference resource.

CMS often responds to questions emailed to them about their telehealth policy through an official letter sent directly to the entity/person that raised the question. CCHP has gathered the letters that address telehealth-specific questions submitted to CMS by staff from the fourteen Telehealth Resource Centers in this Compilation. The general topic areas included in the compilation comprise questions around advanced beneficiary notice (ABN), and when it is required; the CMS-1500 Billing Form and what address to use in certain areas of the form; and questions about when certain codes are billable given specific circumstances and models of care. A simplified FAQ summarizing the content of the letters has been provided in the document as a quick reference, followed by the actual letters.

Besides the Telehealth Booklet and letters mentioned above, Medicare also has issued a number of additional MLN and Manual guidance to address specific topics not covered in the general Telehealth booklet, such as how federally qualified health centers and rural health centers should bill for telehealth services. Also, because communication technology based services and chronic care management does not fall under the definition of telehealth in Medicare, there are also separate guidance documents on these topics as well, which are included in CCHP’s compilation. A link to Medicare’s telehealth geographic analyzer is also included. This is a tool that allows users to input an address to determine if a particular site qualifies under Medicare’s rural requirement (either a non-Metropolitan Statistical Area or rural Health Professional Shortage Area) for telehealth reimbursement.

For more information, download CCHP’s full compilation of CMS telehealth resources, and if you are a recipient of one of the telehealth-related letters described above, please feel free to forward it  to CCHP who will include it in future versions of this resource.  Email your letters to [email protected] 

2019 in Review: State and Federal Telehealth Policy – Legislative Roundup

By | Center for Connected Health Policy

Original Source: Center for Connected Health Policy

 

It was an active year for state telehealth legislation in 2019.  Among 35 states, 113 legislative bills passed in the 2019 legislative session, up significantly from 65 bills in 2018.  Additionally, 54 telehealth related regulations were finalized in 35 states related to telehealth.  The large leap in the numbers of bills passed, was partially due to the increased passage of cross-state licensing legislation enacting interstate licensing compacts.  While the cross-state licensing topic area had 10 bills enacted in 2018, it more than doubled to 23 bills in 2019.  There was also large increases in the passage of bills establishing telehealth demonstrations, pilots and grant programs, as well as bills addressing regulatory professional board practice standards and prescribing. Bills related to both Medicaid and private payer reimbursement also both had an increase since 2018, although the number of bills passed has remained low comparatively.  CCHP’s 2019 roundup of state approved legislation, which includes a detailed listing of all bills by topic area and state, is now available.

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Telehealth Policy This Month

By | Center for Connected Health Policy

Original Source: Center for Connected Health Policy

 

Significant Uptick in Veterans Use of Telehealth in FY 2019
The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has reported a 17% increase in fiscal year (FY) 2019 in telehealth delivered services, verses FY 2018.  That amounts to more than 900,000 veterans taking advantage of telehealth services.  This comes on the heels of the VA completing their first year of the Anywhere to Anywhere Initiative, which allows VA health care providers to treat veterans in any US state, regardless of their state of licensure.  The VA also experienced a huge increase in use of their Video Connect App, which 99,000 veterans used to access care from their home.  Approximately two thirds of the 294,000 Video Connect appointments were for mental health conditions.  To learn more about the VA report and its findings, see the press release.

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STAR Act Would Award Grants for E-Consult and Related Telehealth Services

By | Center for Connected Health Policy

Original Source: Center for Connected Health Policy

 

In late November, HR 5190, the Specialty Treatment to Access and Referrals Act of 2019 (STAR Act) was introduced by Representative Harder.  The bill seeks to provide assistance for health centers and rural health clinics to implement electronic provider consultation and related telehealth services by establishing a grant program to help healthcare providers develop and start up an E-Consult program.
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California Telehealth Policy Coalition Legislative Briefing Recording Now Available

By | Center for Connected Health Policy

Original Source: Center for Connected Health Policy

 

On Thursday, October 31, the California Telehealth Policy Coalition hosted a legislative briefing at the California State Capitol to educate legislative staff and other key audiences on how telehealth can be used to improve patient experience, health outcomes, and health equity. The briefing was attended by over 80 individuals, including legislative staff, attorneys, as well as public interest and advocacy organizations. After two brief videos depicting testimonies from patients who have utilized and expressed high satisfaction with the care they received via telehealth, CCHP executive director, Mei Kwong, gave a brief presentation on the telehealth policy landscape both nationally, and in California.

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