On August 19, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) submitted a report on E-health and Telemedicine to the Committees on Appropriations of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. The report explains ways that advances in telecommunications can improve access to care and improve care quality, effectiveness, and outcomes. This report was prepared by HHS upon request by Congress in December 2015.
The report identifies policy challenges that currently are limiting expansion of telehealth use. These barriers include reimbursement, licensure, privileging and credentialing, and broadband connectivity. The report also identifies Federal telehealth activity and the current HHS legislative proposal.
To read the report: https://aspe.hhs.gov/pdf-report/report-congress-e-health-and-telemedicine
On August 2, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced a new mapping tool that allows users to visualize, overlay, and analyze broadband and health data at the national, state, and county levels. The tool called: Mapping Broadband Health in America, was launched by the FCC’s Connect2Health Task Force and utilizes data captured from the FCC, GeoLytics, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the U.S. Census Bureau.
To access the interactive tool, click HERE.
FCC Press Release: FCC Connect2Health Task Force Unveils Broadband Health Mapping Tool
To learn more about the Mapping tool: https://www.fcc.gov/reports-research/maps/connect2health/background.html
Video Tutorials: https://www.fcc.gov/health/maps/tutorials
Frequently Asked Questions: https://www.fcc.gov/health/maps/faq
On July 7, 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released their proposed Medicare Physican Fee Schedule for CY 2017. This year, CMS proposed expanding eligible telehealth services by adding the following 6 new telehealth codes for reimbursement:
- End-Stage Renal Disease Codes 90967, 90968, 90969, and 90970
- Advance Care Planning Codes 99497 and 99498
CMS also proposed to create two new G-codes to reflect the resource costs of providing critical care consultation services remotely to critically ill patients. The codes, GTTT1 and GTTT2, would be used for initial and subsequent services to describe critical care consultations delivered via telehealth.
For more information, read the CCHP July Newsletter, HERE.
To read the full Proposed Rule in its entirety, please click HERE
On July 7, 2016, Governor David Ige of the State of Hawaii signed into law Senate Bill 2395: Relating to Telehealth as Act 226 (16). This Act:
- Requires the State’s Medicaid Managed Care and Fee-for-Service programs to cover services provided through telehealth;
- Specifies that any telehealth services provided shall be consistent with all federal and state privacy, security, and confidentiality laws;
- Specifies medical professional liability insurance policy requirements with regard to telehealth coverage;
- Clarifies that reimbursement for services provided through telehealth shall be equivalent to reimbursement for the same services provided via face-to-face contact between a health care provider and a patient;
- Requires written disclosure of coverages and benefits associated with telehealth services;
- Ensures that telehealth encompasses store and forward technologies, remote monitoring, live consultation, and mobile health;
- Ensures that telehealth is covered when originating in a patient’s home and other non-medical environments;
- Clarifies requirements for physicians and out-of-state physicians to establish a physician-patient relationship via telehealth;
- Ensures that reimbursement requirements for telehealth services apply to all health benefits plans under chapter 87A, Hawaii Revised Statutes; and
- Makes other conforming amendments related to telehealth for clarity.
To view the Act in its entirety: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2016/bills/GM1328_.PDF
To watch the signing ceremony: https://youtu.be/ZUufRdqIy4Q
Photo (L-R): Senator Rosalyn Baker, Hawai‘i State Legislature; Christina Higa, Co-Program Director, PBTRC; Governor David Ige, State of Hawai‘i; Deborah Birkmire-Peters, Co-Program Director, PBTRC
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) released a Technical Brief titled, “Telehealth: Mapping the Evidence for Patient Outcomes from Systematic Reviews.” The brief provides an overview of the body of evidence about telehealth for use by decisionmakers.
To view the brief, click HERE.