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ruralhealth Archives - National Consortium of Telehealth Research Centers

Telemedicine brings new options to patients in Central Austin

By | Recent Telehealth News

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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Telehealth success varies by setting, according to AHRQ

By | Recent Telehealth News

Article Author: Les Masterson

Source: Healthcare Dive

Healthcare organizations are investing more in telehealth. Foley & Lardner’s 2017 Telemedicine and Digital Health Survey found three-fourths of healthcare organizations said they plan to offer telehealth services this year. Only four years ago, the same survey found that the vast majority of organizations said they didn’t expect patients would use virtual care by now.

Another 2017 survey found that 30% said telehealth was a high priority in their organization. The North American telehealth market is expected to reach $16.8 billion by 2020, fueled by chronic diseases and rising healthcare costs.

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VA Finalizes ‘Anywhere to Anywhere’ Telehealth Program For Vets

By | Recent Telehealth News

Article Author: Erick Wicklund

Source: mHealth Intelligence

A national telehealth program to connect veterans and healthcare providers no matter where either is located is set to become official.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has posted former Secretary David Shulkin’s ambitious connected care initiative in the Federal Register, finalizing a plan to improve access to healthcare for veterans who have difficulties visiting the VA’s estimated 900 hospitals and clinics around the country. The rule enables VA practitioners to use telehealth to connect with veterans in any state, effectively bypassing state licensure laws.

“This final rulemaking clarifies that VA healthcare providers may exercise their authority to provide health care through the use of telehealth, notwithstanding any State laws, rules, licensure, registration, or certification requirements to the contrary,” the rule, dated May 8, states. “In so doing, VA is exercising Federal preemption of conflicting State laws relating to the practice of healthcare providers; laws, rules, regulations, or other requirements are preempted to the extent such State laws conflict with the ability of VA health care providers to engage in the practice of telehealth while acting within the scope of their VA employment.”

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MedPAC recommends ‘measured approach’ to Medicare telehealth coverage

By | Recent Telehealth News | No Comments

Article Author: Evan Sweeney

Source: Fierce Healthcare

Without a consistent comparison from commercial insurers, federal policymakers should adopt a “measured approach” to incorporating telehealth coverage into the Medicare program, according to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC).

In a new report (PDF) mandated under the 21st Century Cures Act, the advisory organization shied away from recommending the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) expand coverage for certain telehealth services, and instead urged policymakers to evaluate emerging modalities based on the ability to lower costs, improve access and drive quality care.

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Telehealth Billing Compliance: Medicare Says Goodbye to the GT Modifier

By | Recent Telehealth News | No Comments

Article Author: Nathaniel M. Lacktman

Source: Health Care Law Today

For over a decade, Medicare has required providers to append special modifiers to their CPT and HCPCS codes when billing for telehealth services. The two primary modifiers for telehealth services were GT (indicating the service was delivered via an interactive audio and video telecommunications system) and GQ (indicating the service was delivered via an asynchronous telecommunications system). Effective January 1, 2018 that has changed because CMS has decided to largely eliminate the requirement to use the GT modifier on telehealth claims.

Instead of using the GT modifier, providers must mark their telehealth services claims with “Place of Service (POS) 02.” A POS code is required on professional claims for all services – telehealth or otherwise – and using POS 02 signals to Medicare that the service was provided via telehealth. Previously, providers were instructed to use the POS code for where the patient was located at the time of the service. Effective January 1, 2018, POS 02 is to be used for all telehealth services under Medicare. The introduction of POS 02 rendered it unnecessary to also require the distant site practitioner report the GT modifier on the claim.

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