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Recent Telehealth News

Telemedicine Gives Specialists a Chance to Exercise Their Skills

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Article Author: Erick Wicklund

Source: mHealth Intelligence

 – Telemedicine advocates have long argued that virtual care is equal to in-person care. But for some specialists augmenting their “day job” with eConsult services, that telehealth platform enables them to do more than they normally do during an office visit.

On such specialist is Dr. Camille Introcaso, a dermatologist with the Pennsylvania Center for Dermatology, a private practice in the Philadelphia area, who joined AristaMD’s Smart Care  eConsult service roughly a year ago. The connected care platform, which she usually accesses at home in the evening, offers her the opportunity to flex her clinical muscles and help people who can’t afford her services, but who often need them more than the patients she sees in her office.

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Medicare’s New Virtual Care Codes: A Monumental Change and Validation of Asynchronous Telemedicine

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Article Author: Nathaniel M. Lacktman

Source: The National Law Review

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services just issued a proposed rule introducing monumental changes to the physician fee schedule, paving the way for asynchronous telemedicine and new technologies through a new set of virtual care codes. CMS explained the impetus for the bold changes, declaring:

“We now recognize that advances in communication technology have changed patients’ and practitioners’ expectations regarding the quantity and quality of information that can be conveyed via communication technology. From the ubiquity of synchronous, audio/video applications to the increased use of patient-facing health portals, a broader range of services can be furnished by health care professionals via communication technology as compared to 20 years ago.”

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Telehealth Advocates Respond to CMS ‘Virtual Visit’ Proposal

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Article Author: David Raths

Source: Healthcare Informatics

Among all the proposed changes the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rolled out last week, ones related to telehealth drew considerable interest. Although it can’t use its regulatory power to change the laws that restrict telehealth services paid for by Medicare to rural settings, the agency has instead defined new “communication technology–based services” that could be used for virtual visits with established Medicare patients regardless of such patients’ location, effective Jan. 1, 2019.

In its proposed rule about virtual visits, CMS is seeking comment on whether telephone interactions are sufficient or whether interactions enhanced with video or other kinds of data transmission should be required. CMS also proposes to create a new code to permit separate Medicare payment for store-and-forward technology such as when a dermatologist examines an image of a patient’s skin asynchronously.

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FCC Eyes Support for Telehealth, RPM Projects Serving Rural America

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Article Author: Erick Wicklund

Source: mHealth Intelligence

 – Federal authorities are proposing to launch a $100 million program to support telehealth and telemedicine programs for underserved populations, including remote patient monitoring programs that have shown past success in treating rural patients with diabetes and veterans.

The Connected Care Pilot Program, announced by Federal Communications Commission member Brendan Carr and Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker in a July 11 op-ed piece in the Clarion Ledger, would focus on projects for low-income Americans, particularly veterans and those in rural areas. It would also support certain projects over the next two to three years that measure and verify the value of connected care programs in reducing costs, increasing savings and improving clinical outcomes.

The FCC will vote on a Notice of Inquiry at its August meeting to support the program.

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Delaware Medical Board Tightens Up Its Telemedicine Regulations

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Article Author: Erick Wicklund

Source: mHealth Intelligence, July 9th, 2018

 – Delaware’s Board of Medicine has tightened up its telehealth and telemedicine regulations.

Following a public comment period, the board enacted new guidelines in June that clarify language in the state’s Medical Practice Act, which sets practice standards for virtual care.

The guidelines touch upon two hot-button issues in telemedicine policy: the use of connected care technology to establish a valid physician-patient relationship, and incorporating telemedicine into new substance abuse programs to tackle the nation’s opioid abuse epidemic.

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CMS Takes Action to Modernize Medicare Home Health

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From the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS):

Press Release

WASHINGTON DC – Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed significant changes to the Home Health Prospective Payment System to strengthen and modernize Medicare, drive value, and focus on individual patient needs rather than volume of care. Specifically, CMS is proposing changes to improve access to solutions via remote patient monitoring technology, and to update the payment model for home health care.

“Today’s proposals would give doctors more time to spend with their patients, allow home health agencies to leverage innovation and drive better results for patients,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “The redesign of the home health payment system encourages value over volume and removes incentives to provide unnecessary care.”

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Telemedicine brings new options to patients in Central Austin

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Article Author: Emma Freer

Source: Community Impact Newspaper

Telemedicine is the provision of healthcare services to a patient by a doctor in a remote location using technology.

Or as Kristi Henderson, vice president of Patient Access, Healthcare Transformation and Virtual Care at Ascension Texas and a clinical professor at Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin, sees it, telemedicine is like the grocery store express lane.

“If you have a minor illness or injury and just need to have a follow-up appointment, why are you going to the line that has everybody with two buggies full of groceries and which costs more money? Why can’t you do it in an express lane?”

Although telemedicine has been practiced in Texas for years, in May 2017 the Legislature passed a bill easing restrictions on telemedicine and opening the door to increased use across the state. The bill took effect in November.

As a result of the legislation, local health care providers, including Ascension Texas, Austin Regional Clinic and CommUnity Care, have expanded their telehealth services and invested in developing new ones.

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