Tag

policy Archives - National Consortium of Telehealth Research Centers

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

From Broadband to Medicare Reimbursement, Federal Policies Look at Expanding Access Through Telehealth

By | Center for Connected Health Policy

Original Source: Center for Connected Health Policy

 

CY 2020 Final Physician Fee Schedule Released
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published their final CY 2020 Physicians Fee Schedule (PFS) in the first week of November. CMS has finalized the addition of three new codes for a bundled episode of care for treatment of opioid use disorder to the list of services that are eligible for telehealth reimbursement.   CMS is allowing these services to be delivered at any telehealth originating site, including the patient’s home without regard for the geographic requirement, in accordance with the SUPPORT Act. Additionally, CMS has adopted a bundled payment structure for opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment by opioid treatment programs (OTPs), which would allow for the counseling and therapy components to be delivered via live interactive video.  CMS has also taken steps to further refine its transitional care management (TCM) and chronic care management (CCM) codes, and create new codes for principal care management (PCM) services for patients that have only one serious chronic condition.  They also issued a clarification for federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and rural health clinics (RHCs) that remote physiologic monitoring codes are not reimbursable in FQHC or RHC settings because it is considered included in their RHC All-Inclusive Rate (AIR) or FQHC Prospective Payment System (PPS) sum.  Finally, based on feedback CMS received that obtaining consent for each and every communication technology-based service is burdensome, they have revised this policy for CY 2020 to only require consent once a year for technology-based services.

Read More

Federal CONNECT Act Seeks to Expand Access to Telehealth in Medicare

By | Center for Connected Health Policy

Original Source: Center for Connected Health Policy

 

Last week S. 2741 (Sen. Schatz) and HR 4932 (Rep. Thompson), the Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) for Health Act of 2019 (CONNECT Act), were introduced in order to amend the Social Security Act to expand access to telehealth in the Medicare program. Medicare currently only reimburses for live-video telehealth services, and asynchronous services (store-and-forward) is not permitted for reimbursement (except for Federal telemedicine demonstration programs in Alaska or Hawaii). Additionally, current law places specific restrictions on the originating site (i.e. the physical location of the patient), practitioner at the distant site (i.e. the physical location of the practitioner) and types of services that can be delivered. One of the most significant restrictions is requiring the patient to be located in a rural area, although there are some exceptions for specific circumstances.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More