Telemedicine News & Updates 7-19-2017

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New CMS Proposed Rule on Physician Fee Schedule includes Telemedicine
The CY 2018 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule with comment period was placed on display at the Federal Register on July 13, 2017. This proposed rule updates payment policies, payment rates, and other provisions for services furnished under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule on or after Jan. 1, 2018. In addition to policies affecting the calculation of payment rates, this proposed rule proposes potentially misvalued codes, adding procedures to the telehealth list, and a number of new policies. CMS will accept comments on the proposed rule until September 11, 2017, and will respond to comments in a final rule.

Avoid the Avoidable: 5 Common Virtual Care Mistakes and How not to Make Them
A little more than a month ago a major piece of telemedicine legislation was passed in Texas that changes the game for health systems looking to deploy virtual care. Joining the rest of the nation, the Lone Star State now allows physicians in Texas to use telemedicine to establish a valid physician-patient relationship without the need for an in-person exam. Zipnosis (@zipnosis) offers advice to health systems, in Texas and elsewhere, who are now anxiously planning to offer virtual care to a broader marketplace.

Wake Forest University Master of Studies in Law (MSL) Degree Telemedicine Course is First of Its Kind
Wake Forest University’s fully online Master of Studies in Law (MSL) degree and certificate program’s innovative telemedicine course is the first of its kind to be taught in a law school, according to the American Telemedicine Association. Recent studies show the telemedicine course, which will be offered beginning in August 2017, is not only innovative but necessary. Healthcare providers are investing in telehealth, which was valued as a $18.2 billion global market in 2016 and is estimated to reach $38 billion by 2022, according to a Zion Market Research study.

ATA Leadership Launches New Task Force Focused on how Telemedicine Impacts Climate Change
You might not immediately make the connection, but telemedicine could play a major role in fighting climate change, according to recent research. And with a new task force, the American Telemedicine Association (@AmericanTelemed) is spearheading an effort to maximize the impact.

Teladoc to Acquire Best Doctors to Provide a Comprehensive Virtual Healthcare Delivery Platform
Teladoc, Inc. (@teladoc), the nation’s first and largest telehealth platform, announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Best Doctors, a medical consultation company focused on improving health outcomes for the most complex, critical and costly medical issues. Teladoc is creating a new paradigm for how patients access care by delivering a powerful connected care platform – a single solution for addressing a complete spectrum of medical conditions, from non-critical, episodic needs to chronic, complicated medical conditions. By leveraging the proven portfolio of healthcare solutions from both Best Doctors and Teladoc, members will have one simple, virtual, patient-centric way to resolve their healthcare issues, improving outcomes and reducing costs.

Cloudbreak Health Reaches New Milestone: One Million Telemedicine Minutes Per Month
Cloudbreak Health, LLC (@CloudbreakHLTH), a unified telemedicine provider, announced it is now providing more than one million minutes per month of telehealth services nationwide. From telepsychiatry, telestroke, tele-ICU, telesitting and other specialties to integrated language services for Limited English Proficient and Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing patients, Cloudbreak’s innovative, secure platform removes both distance and language barriers to improve patient care, satisfaction and outcomes. [tweet_dis excerpt=”Congrats @CloudbreakHLTH New Milestone: 1 Million #Telemedicine Minutes Per Month #HumanizeHealthcare”]Tweet This[/tweet_dis]


Raintree Systems forms strategic alliance with Physitrack, bringing to market a complete mobile patient engagement solution for the US Physical Therapy Market
Raintree Systems (@RaintreeSystems), a comprehensive, single application enterprise practice management and clinical documentation tool, announces the strategic alliance with Physitrack (@physitrack), an innovative patient engagement solution provider. This allegiance was formed due to the commitment each organization is making to improve how therapy is conducted in the United States. The integration between Raintree and Physitrack will not only make Physitrack’s solution easily and conveniently available to Raintree users, but will also offer their patients an unmatched experience.

Iron Bow Recognized as the Leading Provider of Telemedicine Solutions
Iron Bow Technologies (@iron_bow), an information technology solutions provider to healthcare, government and commercial markets, announced it has been recognized as a foremost leader in providing telemedicine solutions. The recognition is based on industry data collected by Definitive Healthcare.

New Telemedicine Initiative Speeds Patients Access to Leading Specialists
Southwestern Vermont Medical Center’s new telemedicine initiative with Dartmouth-Hitchcock is increasing access to highly specialized care. TeleNeurology, the first of three planned telemedicine services, went online in April. It is expected to increase the speed of care for patients experiencing emergent neurological conditions.

Huntington’s Disease Society of America Launches First-of-its-Kind Free Telehealth Counseling for HD Families
The Huntington’s Disease Society of America (@HDSA) recently launched a new technology partnership with telehealth company American Well (@AmericanWell) to offer free online therapy to people affected by Huntington’s disease. HDSA-trained licensed social workers and psychologists will be available on American Well’s telehealth platform to families in all 50 states to help manage the emotional symptoms and burden of HD. Funding for this program is provided by a generous grant from Teva Pharmaceuticals (@TevaUSA).

In state news:
Michigan Health Care Providers May Now Prescribe Controlled Substances via Telemedicine
Governor Snyder recently signed into law Public Act 22 (Senate Bill 213), which revises the 2016 telehealth bill to clarify that health professionals in Michigan may prescribe controlled substances without an in-person examination. Michigan now joins a growing number of states that allow health professionals to prescribe controlled substances via telemedicine.

Telemedicine Could Expand Health Care Access In Kansas, But Insurers Balk At Payment Parity
Wichita 89.1 reports that a bill considered this year by the Kansas House Health and Human Services Committee was aimed at encouraging more of this kind of care. It would require insurance companies that offer coverage for telehealth care to pay the same rate for telehealth services as they do for in-person services. The bill was opposed by insurers, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, who insist a mandate is the wrong approach.

Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System
The Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System (EOVAHCS) has established a new partnership with the Tele-ICU Monitoring Center at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center to enhance care for critical care patients. With funding from the VA Office of Rural Health, EOVAHCS installed teleconferencing equipment in 11 ICU rooms, as well as three Emergency Department rooms.

Upcoming Events:

SPS 2017 Telehealth Conference
What: 3rd National Telemedicine & Telehealth Service Provider Showcase
When: October 2-3, 2017
Where: Phoenix, AZ
Event Hashtag: #TTSPS17

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.