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policy Archives - National Consortium of Telehealth Research Centers

Milbank Memorial Fund Releases Issue Brief on Policy Landscape of In-home Telehealth

By | Center for Connected Health Policy

Original Source: Center for Connected Health Policy

 

In August, the Milbank Memorial Fund released an issue brief on the telehealth policy landscape, emphasizing the growth of synchronous, live-video telehealth delivered in patients’ homes and other nonclinical settings. The issue brief outlines the current state of home-based telehealth, differentiating between direct-to-consumer telehealth, which is commonly used to address minor and acute conditions using a patient’s personal devices, and in-home telehealth visits from a patient’s primary care provider, which are typically conducted for more serious conditions and may require more extensive technological components.
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California’s New Medi-Cal Telehealth Reimbursement Policies Released with Major Changes

By | Center for Connected Health Policy

Original Source: Center for Connected Health Policy

In mid-August, the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) released its finalized telehealth policy update for the following:

  • Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid Program) fee-for-service program
  • An All Plan Letter (APL) for Managed Care
  • Indian Health Services, Memorandum of Agreement (IHS-MOAs)
  • Family Plan, Access, Care and Treatment (Family PACT)
  • Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs)
  • Local Education Agency (LEA)
  • Vision Care

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FCC, CMS, California Medicaid All Take Steps to Expand Telehealth Utilization

By | Center for Connected Health Policy
Original Source: Center for Connected Health Policy
FCC Pilot Up for Public Comment & FCC Voting to Overhaul Rural Health Care Program

Last month the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released their proposed ruleto establish the Connected Care Pilot Program to support the development of telehealth services and delivery for low-income Americans, especially among rural and veteran populations. A Notice of Inquiry for comments on the program was originally made in July 2018.  The FCC is proposing to adopt a $100 million budget, and would fund up to 20 connected care projects with a three-year funding period, though all costs of a pilot would not be fully funded by this program. The pilot would give health care providers the flexibility to determine health conditions and geographic areas that they would like to focus on. The program would be limited to only health conditions that typically require at least several months or more of treatment, such as behavioral health, opioid dependency, chronic health conditions and high risk pregnancies. The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on July 30, 2019 and comments are due August 29, 2019.  FCC’s responses to public comments are expected on or before September 30, 2019.

Additionally, in July the FCC voted to adopt a Report and Order which indicates they will be reforming the way they distribute funding in the Rural Health Care Program, amidst growing demand and an effort to reduce inefficiencies and waste.  A major component of the Rural Health Care Program involves subsidizing the cost of broadband services for rural participants. The FCC plans to prioritize its support through the program based on “rurality tiers” as well as if the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) designates the area as a medically underserved population, with those classified as “extremely rural” receiving the highest priority.

To learn more about the FCC’s Report and Order and other planned changes, see the full document.

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Medicare Proposed 2020 PFS & California Medicaid Policy

By | Center for Connected Health Policy

Original Source: Center for Connected Health Policy

 

Medi-Cal Telehealth Fee-For-Service Policy Update

On July 29, 2019, the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) which oversees the state’s Medicaid program (Medi-Cal), released their final telehealth policy update for fee-for-service.  In October 2018, DHCS released proposed changes to telehealth policies for Medi-Cal fee-for-service, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), Rural Health Clinics (RHCs), Indian Health Services (IHS) and Family Planning, Access, Care and Treatment (FPACT).  A copy of the final fee-for-service policy is available on the DHCS website though it is still labeled “DRAFT.”  The Department states that while this is the final policy, the official version of the policy will be published on their site later this month along with the updated manuals for FQHCs, RHCs, IHS, and FPACT.  When all manuals have been released, CCHP will do an in-depth analysis of all of the new policies.  In the meantime, CCHP has created a side-by-side comparison of Medi-Cal’s previous policy, the October 2018 proposal and the final proposal as well as highlighting some of the changes in the final policy.

CCHP will also be holding an informational webinar in the Fall to go over these exciting changes in Medi-Cal’s policies.  Stay tuned for more information.

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Telehealth-Based Directly Observed Therapy Proves Effective in Guam for Tuberculosis Treatment

By | Center for Connected Health Policy

Original Source: Center for Connected Health Policy

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:

CMS Releases Proposed CY 2020 Physician Fee Schedule

Yesterday the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released their proposed Calendar Year 2020 Physician Fee Schedule, aiming to reduce administrative burden on physicians, and make it easier for patients to access value-based care.  Among the changes, CMS has proposed steps to help clinicians better manage chronically ill patients as they transition from the hospital to the home through care management services.  CMS is also proposing to add three new codes for a bundled episode of care for treatment of opioid use disorder, among other changes.

Comments on the proposal are due Sept. 27, 2019.

Stay tuned for an in depth analysis from CCHP in next week’s In Focus.  

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Federal Policies Race Towards Telehealth Expansion

By | Center for Connected Health Policy

Original Source: Center for Connected Health Policy

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 | Center for Connected Health Policy

Original Source: Center for Connected Health Policy

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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