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Center for Connected Health Policy

Updated 50 State Telehealth Laws & Reimbursement Policies Report

By | Center for Connected Health Policy

Original Source: Center for Connected Health Policy

 

An updated Fall 2019 version of CCHP’s “State Telehealth Laws and Reimbursement Policies” Report is available today!  The Fall 2019 edition offers policymakers, health advocates and other interested health care professionals a detailed compendium of state telehealth laws, regulations and Medicaid policies.  The report also includes an executive summary, which summarizes CCHP’s findings along with an “At a Glance” Infographic and Chart that highlights key data points from the report.  CCHP’s online interactive map tool has also been updated with all of the newest information from this update.

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With a Stroke of a Pen, Gov. Newsom Continues California’s Telehealth Policy Leadership Role

By | Center for Connected Health Policy

Original Source: Center for Connected Health Policy

 

On October 14, 2019, California governor, Gavin Newsom, signed into law AB 744, a telehealth private payer parity bill.  Authored by Assemblymember Ceclia Aguiar-Curry(D-Winters), AB 744 was sponsored by the California Medical Association (CMA) and supported by over sixty organizations.  AB 744 was supported by the members of the California Telehealth Policy Coalition.

AB 744 will require contracts issued, amended or renewed after January 1, 2021 between a health care service plan and a health care provider to specify that the provider who delivers services appropriately through telehealth be reimbursed on the same basis and to the same extent that the plan would have had the same service been provided in-person.  The health plan cannot require the use of telehealth if the health care provider has determined that it is not appropriate nor does it limit the ability of the health plan and provider to negotiate the rate of reimbursement for a service.
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Telehealth Policy This Month

By | Center for Connected Health Policy

Original Source: Center for Connected Health Policy

In May 2019, the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging conducted a national poll on the experiences and opinions of telehealth from adults age 50-80 years. The poll asked participants to share their opinions on telehealth compared to in-person office visits, such as the perceived levels of convenience and expressed concerns.

Only 14% of respondents reported that their providers offered telehealth visits through smartphones or computers and only 4% reported having a telehealth visit within the last year. However, interest in telehealth was relatively high. Among respondents, 47% believed that the overall convenience of a telehealth visit would be better than an in-person office visit while 36% believed the in-person visit would be more convenient and 18% believed there would be no difference. Additionally, among respondents whose providers do not offer telehealth visits, 48% expressed interest in having a telehealth visit with their primary care provider, 40% with a specialist, and 35% with a mental health professional.

Older adults showed some concerns with telehealth with 56% believing that they would feel better cared for from an in-person office visit. 71% indicated being concerned that health care providers would not be able to do a physical exam, 68% that care would not be as good, and 49% that there were concerns with privacy.

For more information, the full report is available from the University of Michigan Library.

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By | Center for Connected Health Policy

Original Source: Center for Connected Health Policy

In early September, Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan and LA Care Health Plan announced a joint effort to operate 14 community resource centers in Los Angeles County, which will utilize telehealth among other tools to improve health.  LA Care and Blue Shield Promise first opened resource centers over a decade ago as a strategy to improve health and wellness in the community.  The current plan would expand these centers and add to their offerings.  The community resource centers are expected to reach 1 million people in total, offering classes in exercise, nutrition, parenting and health management.  Personalized health services offered by the centers will include health screenings, telehealth and on-site care management for health plan members.  On-site support will also be available from community social service organizations focused on addressing food, income insecurity and other needs.  The effort is aimed at addressing the social determinants of health to improve outcomes and lower costs.  The companies expect to invest $146 million in the effort over a five year period.  To learn more about the new LA Care and Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan partnership, see their official press release.

Simultaneously, LA Care is also expanding its diabetes self-management education program to include telehealth classes through a partnership with Diabetes Care Partners (DCP).  The telehealth program teaches patients techniques to manage their diabetes and gives them guidance on applying those techniques in their daily life.  Homework given each week helps solidify the information gained in the class and leads to patient empowerment to control and self-manage their diabetes.  Diabetes self-management education has been delivered since 2015 to LA Care members using DCP services and data from 2018 shows that 70 percent of participants were able to maintain or decrease their A1c (a biometric measurement used in diabetes care) by 0.35 percent. DCP announced in mid-September that the telehealth program will include LA Care Family Resource Centers and designated clinics across Los Angeles County.

To learn more about the LA Care and Diabetes Care Partners’ self-management education telehealth program, see this article in HealthData Management.

Evaluation of Tablet Distribution Program in Veterans Administration – Barriers and Facilitators

By | Center for Connected Health Policy

Source: Center for Connected Health Policy

In August, researchers from the Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation to Implementation and the Veterans Health Administration published an Open study in JAMIA Open Journal that examines an initiative to distribute tablets to high-need veterans with access barriers nationwide.  Researchers studied tablet distribution rates and patient-level utilization rates along with sociodemographic and clinical characteristics between May 2016 and September 2017.  Additionally, they surveyed 68 facility telehealth coordinators, and interviewed select coordinators in order to determine the most common barriers and facilitators of the tablet distribution program.
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School-Based Telemedicine Program Shown to Reduce ED Visits and Improve Morbidity for Children with Asthma

By | Center for Connected Health Policy

Original Source: Center for Connected Health Policy

 

An article published recently in JAMA Pediatrics examined associations between a school-based telehealth program and all-cause emergency department visits made by Medicaid enrolled children. Researchers analyzed 2,443,405 child-months of Medicaid claims data, comprised by 23,198 children aged 3 to 17 years living in Williamsburg county, South Carolina. The data was categorized into pre- and post-intervention, with pre-intervention data spanning 2012 to 2014 and post-intervention data between 2015 and 2017. In addition to overall claims data, the research included a subsample of children with asthma, intended to capture associations between children with asthma and the same school-based telehealth program.
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Advances in State Telehealth Policies Persist as Companies Work to Improve Cybersecurity & New Billing Codes are Released

By | Center for Connected Health Policy

Original Source: Center for Connected Health Policy

 

CCHP Provides Resources to Navigate CA Medicaid’s New Telehealth Policy

Last month the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) released its finalized telehealth policy update for Medi-Cal (CA Medicaid) fee-for-service, as well as a few other programs (including Indian Health Services, Memorandum of Agreement (IHS-MOA), Federally Qualified Health Centers/Rural Health Clinics (FQHCs/RHCs), Family Planning, Access, Care, and Treatment (PACT), Local Education Agency (LEA) and Vision Care).  An All Plan Letter was also distributed to Managed Care plans on the changes.  The most significant changes to the fee-for-service policy included allowing providers to decide what modality, live video or store-and-forward, will be used to deliver eligible services to a Medi-Cal enrollee as long as the service is covered by Medi-Cal and meets all other Medi-Cal guidelines and policies, can be properly provided via telehealth and meets the procedural and definition components of the appropriate CPT or HCPCS code.  Additionally, the home now qualifies as an originating site with no requirement that a provider be present with the patient at the time services are rendered.  DHCS has also opened up one code for e-consult, considered a subset of store-and-forward.  Finally, DHCS has specified that in order for a provider to qualify for reimbursement, they must be licensed in CA, enrolled as a Medi-Cal rendering provider or non-physician medical practitioner and affiliated with an enrolled Medi-Cal provider group.  The enrolled Medi-Cal provider group must be located in California or a border community.

The program specific manuals (for example, IHS-MOAs, and FQHCs/RHCs) do have additional requirements and restrictions.  CCHP has created a factsheet and comparison chart between the programs that outlines the various changes to the revised Medi-Cal policies.

To learn more, visit CCHP’s California webpage for all the latest developments in CA telehealth policy.

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