White paper identifies potential and challenges of telehealth

Telehealth is a rapidly growing field that has the potential to help states leverage a shrinking and maldistributed provider workforce, increase access to services, improve population health and lower costs says a report published a few days ago. Called “Telehealth Policy Trends and Considerations”, the white paper from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) focuses on three areas: reimbursement of telehealth encounters, licensure for telehealth providers and patient privacy, safety and security.

This white paper is the result of a year’s work by a group brought together by the NCSL consisting of state legislators, legislative staff and private industry. The white paper provides options for state policymakers in these areas.

The paper also covers recent research into cost-effectiveness of telehealth, the impact of telecommunications connectivity and some specific examples of telehealth/telemedicine usage. Examples of effective use of telehealth includes the use of telehealth/telemedicine by the Veterans Health Administration. Another example cited is the telemedicine usage by the Unversity of Mississippi Center for Telehealth about which we have reported previously

The full 28-page report, is available to download here.

State telemedicine legislation update (US)

Here’s some brief updates on US telemedicine legislation scene to hit the news recently.

Florida

Florida is progressing the telehealth bill we reported on 12 Feb 2015. The Florida Senate [grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Florida-House-of-Representattives.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Telehealth Policy Committee revised the draft bill on 18 Feb 2015 so the need for Medicaid reimbursements to be the same for telemedicine and face-to-face consultations is removed.

Mississippi

We have reported many telehealth initiatives from Mississippi and the state is now considered to be “a leader in telemedicine” according to a recent report in Politico. “Mississippi’s telemedicine program, ranked among the seven best in the country, has inspired neighboring Arkansas to take bigger steps in some areas of the field, and the impact of its success is making waves in Washington as well” continues Politico.

Mississippi is also helping to move telehealth at a federal level. Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) introduced a bipartisan bill in July last year to expand telehealth services under Medicare. The bill called Medicare [grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/mississippi-logo1.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Telehealth Parity Act 2014 starts to move face to face and telehealth consultations to be on an equal footing.

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