The American Telemedicine Association’s annual conference, ATA2023, which wrapped two weekends ago, had some major debates, awards, and some board changes.
Special ‘listening’ session on DEA’s proposed changes on telemedicine prescribing of controlled substances. This would resume the in-person visit requirement for Schedule III-V non-narcotic controlled medications. A 30-day limit on a prescription would be permitted for a telehealth remote visit and prescription, but an in-person visit would be required during that period or thereafter before any renewal. The DEA proposed rule issued 24 February (draft here) includes allowing care to be delivered uninterrupted for 180 days after the end of the public health emergency (PHE) ending 11 May, but then requires an in-person physician visit. ATA opposes this new requirement for patients who were prescribed these medications solely during telehealth during the PHE (release 25 Feb). Public comment on the proposed rule is open for 30 days (27 March). A representative of the DEA was in the audience for the Monday 6 March discussion moderated by Kyle Zebley, ATA’s senior vice president of public policy. Other telehealth measures were extended for two years in last year’s passage of the 2023 Federal budget bill [TTA 4 Jan]. Healthcare Finance
Winners were announced for ATA’s Telehealth Innovators Challenge. The four categories and winners were:
Femtech and Women’s Health Winner: SimpliFed. SimpliFed is a virtual breastfeeding and baby feeding provider network that improves access to professional lactation support.
In-patient Care Solutions Winner: Great Speech. Great Speech provides speech therapy through a network of 200+ therapists and adds artificial intelligence (AI) technology and proprietary algorithms.
The Patient Experience: Clearstep Health. Clearstep guides healthcare consumers to the best next steps for care based on their symptoms, insurance, location and preferences via a virtual triage system set up for providers.
Tools That Deliver Care: Strados Labs. The Strados Cardiopulmonary Platform, using the RESP Biosensor, captures wheezing, coughing, and other lung sounds plus respiratory dynamics, then to a clinician portal supported by machine learning algorithms.
SimpliFed also won the overall Judges’ Choice Award. Oshi Health, a virtual-first gastrointestinal care clinic integrating evidence-based medical care and behavioral health support into a convenient, high-touch, data-driven care model, received the overall People’s Choice Award. Release
Sree Chaguturu, MD, has been named Chair-elect of ATA’s Board of Directors for a two-year term starting May 2024. Dr. Chaguturu is executive vice president and chief medical officer, CVS Health. He has served on the ATA Board of Directors since December 2020. He will follow Kristi Henderson, DNP, CEO, MedExpress and senior vice president of the Center for Digital Health and Innovation for Optum Health, who is now Immediate Past Chair. Release
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