Telemedicine News & Updates 8-3-2016

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More and more employers are seeking to integrate telemedicine into their benefits packages. According to the National Business Group on Health, 48 percent of surveyed employers offered telemedicine benefits in 2015. So far this year, that number has jumped to 74 percent. In a world where things like shopping, banking, and transportation are available on our phones with the click of a button, it makes sense that we’d want the same convenience with healthcare. In addition to convenience there are also other benefits of telemedicine.

Digital Health Companies Raised More than $149M in July
During the month of July, MobiHealthNews (@MobiHealthNews) reported on 16 digital health companies that raised venture funding. The deals total $149.3 million, which is lower on average when compared to other months this year so far but that’s expected for the slower news cycle in the summer.

Telemedicine Is Convenient … But More Importantly It Saves Money
From Healthline News, healthcare providers, insurance companies, patients, and employers all win when it comes to cost reductions with telemedicine. There are already a slew of positives when technology is integrated with medicine and it seems it’s just getting started. Telemedicine’s popularity is growing and it’s uses are expanding.

Telemedicine Arrangements: Beware of Inadvertently Dialing Up an Excise Tax
Telemedicine is a perk which employers are often excited to provide for employees since it is touted as something that saves time and money for companies. However, Brad Schlozman of Hinkle Law (@HinkleLawFirm) warns employers to take care when considering the addition of telemedicine to employee health care packages. Schlozman urges employers to proceed with caution and be sure “the telemedicine arrangement is structured in just the right way.”

On-demand Veterinarian Startup Brings Telemedicine to Pets
People aren’t the only ones who can benefit from telemedicine, apparently our furry friends can too! The idea was conceived after Tan Kabra had a costly and time consuming trip to the vet only to find there was nothing wrong with his cat. From this experience Kabra’s Boston-based VetX was launched along with co-founder John Dillon. VetX is a 24/7, on-demand telemedicine-for-pets company. The company offers a website and mobile apps for iOS and Google Play that connects pet owners to veterinarians within an estimated 90 seconds for a fee of $10 for live-chat or $15 for video-chat.

In State News
Central Mass. Hospitals Receive $1M for Telemedicine
The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission recently announced that Heywood Hospital (@HeywoodHospital) and UMass Memorial Medical Center (@umassmemorial) have received nearly $1 million in combined funds as part of a telemedicine pilot being conducted by the state. The money comes from part of $11.3 million in health care investments. The funding is meant to extecnd behavioral health services in populations such as children or those with substance use disorders.

Government Funding for Telemedicine
USDA Awards $2.2M to Remote Native Villages
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (@USDA) recently awarded $23.4 million in grants to 81 communities in 32 states for Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) programs. Eight of those grants, totaling over $2.2 million, are to Native groups in Alaska, California, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. Alaska received the most money, with four groups awarded a total of over copy.4 million, while Native groups in California, Minnesota, New Mexico and Oklahoma received a total of nearly $800,000.

Feds Award $325,000 to Resource Center for Telemedicine
The Northwest Regional Telehealth Resource Center (@NRTRC), based out of St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation, has received $325,000 from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration’s Telehealth Resource Center Grant Program to help provide medical services to rural communities. According to NRTRC program director, Bob Wolverton, “It’s really an important step forward and we really want to help grow telehealth in our region.”

Save the Date
ATA Fall Forum – September 28 – 30
“Join us in New Orleans this September for ATA Fall Forum! This multi-billion dollar industry is poised to explode, as technology, reimbursement, momentum at the state level, and international expansion are all fueling new ways to deliver cost-effective care with high-quality results.” Keynote speakers feature locals James Carville and Mary Matalin and space is limited so register today! [tweet_dis excerpt=”Join @AmericanTelemed in NOLA 9/28-30 for #ATAFallForum – The Dynamic Future of #Telehealth”]Tweet This[/tweet_dis]

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.