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telehealth Archives - National Consortium of Telehealth Research Centers

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.

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Review of Geriatric Telehealth Literature Shows Need for More Studies

By | Center for Connected Health Policy

Original Source: Center for Connected Health Policy

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society systematically reviewed randomized controlled trial research published from 2012 to 2018 on the use of live-video telehealth services delivered to adults over the age of 65. The study provides an overview of the current state of telehealth research as it pertains to older populations and makes recommendations for further improving the research base.

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NCTRC Webinar – Capacity Building Through Telemedicine: Georgia Department of Public Health

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Hosted by: Southeast Telehealth Resource Center

Presented by:

Suleima Salgado, MBA Director of Telehealth, Telemedicine and Rural Health Initiatives , Georgia Department of Public Health

Description:

This webinar aims to address recent developments of telehealth and telemedicine in the state of Georgia, Department of Public Health (DPH). Audiences will learn how DPH built its infrastructure, discuss implementation strategies, hear lessons learned, and gain strategies on how to partner with various programs to increase access to care across rural and urban settings.

Download the Powerpoint

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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