Telemedicine News & Updates 6-20-2018

Chairman Pai Proposes Significant Funding Increase for Rural Health Care Program
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced that he has circulated a draft order to his colleagues that would take immediate action to significantly increase funding for the Universal Service Fund’s Rural Health Care Program. The Chairman’s order would increase the annual cap to $571 million. This increase represents what the funding level would be today had the cap established in 1997 included an inflation adjustment. The order would apply the increased cap to the current funding year to immediately address a critical funding crisis and enable rural health care providers to continue offering telemedicine services.

Capital BlueCross Launches New Virtual Care App and Expands Telehealth Access for Behavioral Health Services
In its continued effort to provide convenient, affordable access to healthcare, Capital BlueCross launched a new and expanded Virtual Care app. The app allows members to visit a physician at any time, via their smart phone, computer or tablet. The benefit is available in partnership with American Well (Amwell).

AAP Chooses SnapMD’s Telehealth Platform for New Program
On May 22, 2018, SnapMD (@snapmdincannounced it had been selected by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) as a telehealth technology vendor for the AAP Member Advantage Program. Under this arrangement, SnapMD will offer AAP members special pricing to use SnapMD’s Virtual Care Management (VCM) telehealth platform. The AAP Member Advantage Program includes 66,000 pediatricians, surgeons, and specialists nationwide.

Vidyo Opens Nominations for Annual LIT Awards
Vidyo, Inc. (@Vidyo), embedded real-time video solutions provider, announced that nominations are now open for its annual Leaders Innovating Telehealth (LIT) Awards. The LIT Awards celebrate organizations whose innovative use of the Vidyo platform has brought meaningful change to the lives of others.

Generation Startup: Ex-banker seeks to “democratise” healthcare with new app
Former investment banker Charlie Barlow has a mission to “democratise” the primary healthcare field in the UAE, which he says is plagued with over-prescribing of medicine, unwanted lab tests and inefficient care. His solution is telehealth or, as his start-up is called Health at hand, an app that connects doctors with patients to conduct consultations via video. The company, which is licensed by the Dubai Health Authority, was set up last year and launched the app in April.

DHA Solicits Industry Input for Military Telehealth System Transformation
The Defense Health Agency seeks information on the availability of tools, services and marketplace data for an upcoming project to centralize the Military Health System‘s care delivery approach. A FedBizOpps notice posted Thursday says the DHA is exploring virtual video, image sharing, warfighter support, specialty care, integration and training service offerings that can help transform the MHS Virtual Health Program.

VA Telemedicine Cut Hospital Transfers for ICU Patients
A Veterans Affairs program using telemedicine to improve care of critically ill patients in regional VA hospitals appeared to reduce transfers to intensive care units (ICUs) at larger facilities without compromising patient survival, researchers said.

Docity Lets You Add An Affordable Telehealth Service to Your Wi-Fi Bill
Docity (@DocityHealthbrings the clinic to the couch and the exam room to the living room by bundling livestreaming healthcare access to the home through on-bill partnerships with internet service providers across the country. Our service includes a digital otoscope to allow customers to livestream the inside of they or their family member’s ear, nose or throat to the doctor without leaving home. The entire service is priced at $30 or less each month.

Innovative telehealth services bridge gaps in care
The physician shortage has prompted a growing number of brokers, employers and HR professionals to take a serious look at telehealth, the remote delivery of health care services and clinical information using the internet, wireless, satellite and telephone media.

In State News:

Farm Bill Gives Funds For Opioid Treatment Through Telemedicine
Besides support for farmers and agricultural efforts, the U.S. Senate’s 2018 Farm Bill also addresses the opioid epidemic in rural communities. Wyfi Indianapolis reports that funds to increase telemedicine treatment and training options will be available through the bill.

Expansion of telemedicine benefits veterans in rural Kansas
The MISSION Act, signed into law by President Donald Trump earlier this month, expands the use of telemedicine services. Health care professionals will be given the authority to practice telemedicine regardless of their location or the location of the patient. The measure also requires data to be submitted on patient satisfaction and the effect of telemedicine on wait times.

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.