Telemedicine News & Updates 5-30-2018

In rural America, digital divide slows a vital path for telemedicine
Chairman Pai and former Chairman Newton Minow under President Kennedy co-authored an op-ed in today’s Boston Globe, discussing the power and promise of telemedicine. According to the article, The most crucial step in seizing the opportunities of digital medicine is making sure that every community has high-speed Internet access. More than 24 million Americans don’t even have the option of subscribing to home broadband service at the baseline speeds required for high-bandwidth applications such as telemedicine. Those who stand to benefit most from telemedicine disproportionately find themselves on the wrong side of the digital divide. Roughly 30 percent of rural Americans lack access to high-speed wireline broadband. (This exacerbates the fact that it’s harder than ever to attract physicians to practice in rural communities.)

Kentucky’s New Telehealth Law Expands Insurance Coverage and Reimbursement
Kentucky health care providers and patients will soon enjoy a revamped, and significantly improved, telehealth commercial insurance coverage law. Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed SB 112 into law on April 26, 2018, imposing both telehealth coverage and payment parity requirements for Kentucky Medicaid, Medicaid managed care organizations, and commercial health plans in the Bluegrass State. The law is effective July 1, 2019.

Benezon and AIMM’s New Partnership Drives Smart Decisions with Better Engagement
Benezon Healthcare Advocacy and Ault International Medical Management (AIMM) formally announced the nationwide release of their collaborative solutions. The new strategic partnership took form in late 2017 and kicked off this year to focus on making healthcare access easier and simplify the process for members of their self-funded clients. As part of the two companies’ union, they will lead a collaborative and educational webinar on June 12, 2018, at 2:00 PM ET. Customers using both Benezon and AIMM are now able to connect plan members directly to AIMM via live concierge advocates or through a highly configurable benefits app with a direct link from the app dashboard. The proven, user-friendly app is both convenient for individual plan members and also a selling feature for partner agencies and clients.

Is There a Doctor on the Plane? Increasingly, Airlines Hope Not
A medical emergency sets in motion a high-altitude calculation with human lives in the balance. While pilots are the ultimate decision-makers, airlines have earth-bound medical consultants that help bypass on-board volunteers — reducing expensive emergency landings, but with the potential of providing expert decisions in real time reports Bloomberg.

Telemedicine helps improve participation in clinical trials
Videos and creative uses of other visuals provide a novel way to obtain informed consent during clinical trials to improve participants’ understanding and retention of trial information, according to a study by Nemours Children’s Health System presented at the American Thoracic Society (ATS) Annual Conference. With funding from the National Institutes of Health, Nemours piloted a new clinical trial design to streamline and reduce the time demands and cost of clinical research with the use of technology through a step-by-step video to achieve informed consent, telemedicine appointments, online symptom diaries, and electronic fund transfers for trial compensation.

UCI study shows in-home therapy effective for stroke rehabilitation
UCI recently reported on a multi-site US clinical trial that compared home-based telerehabilitation with in-clinic rehabilitation therapy. In-home rehabilitation, using a telehealth system and supervised by licensed occupational/physical therapists, is an effective means of improving arm motor status in stroke survivors, according to findings presented by University of California, Irvine neurologist Dr. Steven C. Cramer at the recent 2018 European Stroke Organisation Conference in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Telehealth saves a big health system $4 million in just three years
Replacing a conventional trip the doctor’s office with a telehealth visit saves patients—and the health system—time and money. Telehealth, in fact, has saved one big Michigan health system just over $4 million in three years. So far in 2018, Spectrum’s MedNow telehealth program has saved healthcare payers $1.5 million in total savings and patients driving 476,279 unnecessary miles according to Digital Commerce 360.

Doctor On Demand gets Over One Million Video Visits
Doctor On Demand, the nation’s leading virtual care provider, has surpassed one million video visits. Accomplished in just over four years, this industry milestone comes on the heels of the company’s recent $74 million Series C financing round. Doctor On Demand continues to experience rapid growth, and is projected to surpass two million video visits by summer 2019.

Bill would Expand Medicare Telehealth Coverage for Substance Abuse
According to HealthData Management, a bill proposed in the Senate would allow Medicare to reimburse providers who conduct behavioral health consultations for substance abuse via telemedicine, an expansion of coverage that could include in-home remote telehealth sessions with Medicare beneficiaries. The bill is limited to expanding the use of telehealth services for the treatment of opioid use disorder and other substance abuse disorders.

Webinar: Embrace Telemedicine to Unlock its True Potential
The webinar, presented by AHIP and sponsored by Doctor on Demand, will look at specific opportunities to integrate telemedicine into health plan clinical offerings and plan design, leveraging experience from current and prospective programs. Specifics around cost savings will be cited where available. Where not available, inferences will be drawn around the magnitude of potential savings. Join AHIP and Doctor on Demand on May 31, 2018, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM ET.

Upcoming Events:

SPS 2018
What: Telemedicine & Telehealth Service Provider Summit (SPS)
When: October 8-9, 2018
Where: Glendale, AZ

CMS Covered Telehealth Services
You can download the list of services payable under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule when furnished via telehealth on the CMS website.

Center for Connected Health Policy (CCHP)
The Center for Connected Health Policy (@CCHPCA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to maximize telehealth’s ability to improve health outcomes, care delivery, and cost effectiveness. Follow CCHP for the latest in telehealth policy and news.