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This Week in Connected Care:
Recent Developments and Clips

Week Ending May 15, 2020

The Alliance for Connected Care continues to maintain and update a COVID-19 website tracking guidance on telehealth and remote patient monitoring

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Alliance News

In the News: Executive Director Krista Drobac was featured in a Fierce Healthcare webinar which discussed how providers are navigating the legislative and regulatory changes for telehealth and remote patient monitoring in the past month and new opportunities in a post-COVID world.

The Alliance is Tracking COVID-19 Telehealth Polls. The document includes polls on patient and provider adoption, acceptance, and satisfaction with telehealth during the COVID-19 public health emergency. This document is included on the revamped Studies & Reports page, which now also includes a list of pre-COVID-19 research and reports on telehealth utilization/adoption, feasibility and cost-effectiveness, and impact on clinical outcomes. The Alliance will continue to update the charts with telehealth polls and relevant research as they are published.

    Federal Agency Telehealth Activity / Guidance

    HRSA: (5/13) – HHS, through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded $15 million to 159 organizations across five health workforce programs to support telehealth providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. List of award recipients.

    CMS: (5/13) – CMS released a new toolkit outlining best practices to assist nursing homes in meeting the needs of nursing home residents during COVID-19. The toolkit includes state telehealth best practices for nursing homes. ToolkitYou can also find this document on the COVID-19 website tracking guidance from federal agencies on telehealth and remote patient monitoring. 

    FCC: (5/13) – FCC approved the sixth set of COVID-19 Telehealth Program applications, funding an additional 33 health care providers. To date, the FCC’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program has funded 82 health care providers in 30 states for a total of $33.26 million in funding.

      Congressional Activity and Legislation

      HEROES Act (H.R. 6800): (5/12) – Rep. Lowey (D-NY) and thirteen cosponsors introduced the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act (H.R. 6800).  Among many provisions, the bill provides the Indian Health Service $500 million for healthcare and telehealth services and another $140 million to expand broadband infrastructure and information technology for telehealth and electronic health records systems purposes.  It also expands telehealth to serve homeless veterans. The bill would also provide $2 billion in additional dollars to the Federal Communication Commission's emergency health care connectivity fund and $8.8 billion to expand access to broadband for individuals who cannot afford it. One-pager: Section-by-section: Fact sheet on state and local coronavirus relief funds:

      Letter: (5/11) – Sens. Schatz (D-HI), Murkowski (R-AK), King (I-ME) and Boozman (R-AR) sent a letter to House and Senate leaders to include $2 billion in the next coronavirus relief package to help health care providers expand telehealth services and improve broadband. Press release.

          News and Reports

          Modern Healthcare: (5/9) - The latest Modern Healthcare CEO Survey finds that health system CEOs see a wave of innovation in telehealth over the next year. In addition, 92.9% of CEOs cited telehealth as a technology with the most potential to support response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

          Intel: (5/11) – A new blog post from Steve Allen, Director of Clinical Systems Segment, Health and Life Sciences at Intel describes how COVID-19 has allowed the telemedicine genie out of the bottle. He states that, “"We cannot afford to revert to restrictions on telemedicine.... we must start now to ensure that telemedicine continues to be the standard of care for patients nationwide."

          New York Times: (5/11) – Dr. Emil Baccash, a geriatrician in Brooklyn, N.Y. said he strongly suspects that, “when the virus goes away, some patients who have used telemedicine will prefer televisits to coming to the doctor’s office.” “Telemedicine will definitely be part of the future of medicine,” he said.

          New York Times: (5/11) – Doctors and patients are turning to telemedicine during COVID-19. “This is a kind of turning point for virtual health,” Dr. Shah said. “We’re actually seeing how it can be used in a public health crisis.”

          UVA Today: (5/11) – Telemedicine tools developed to fight Ebola at UVA Health has potential in the fight against COVID-19. “One of the few bright spots of the COVID-19 crisis is that it’s shown us how remarkably powerful and versatile telemedicine can be during outbreaks of novel contagious diseases,” said UVA Health epidemiologist Dr. Costi Sifri.

          Kaiser Family Foundation: (5/11) – KFF released a new report examining opportunities and barriers for telemedicine in the U.S. during the COVID-19 emergency and beyond. KFF found that while use of telemedicine has expanded rapidly during the crisis, a number of gaps remain in ensuring access. KFF offered several options to further expand telemedicine access including service parity and payment parity, allow the home as an “originating site”, allow use of audio-only phone for patients who do not have live-video technology, and invest in telecommunications infrastructure for less-resourced sites of care, and ensuring internet access to patients in rural areas.

          Managed Healthcare Executive: (5/11) – An independent survey of 1,000 U.S. adults from April 8-10, found that among those 65+ who indicate their provider began offering telemedicine during COVID-19, 86% said they appreciate having the option to consult their doctor remotely. The survey also revealed that 52% reported that while they have not used telemedicine, they would if the need arose.

          Tech Crunch: (5/11) – Clinicians at Mount Sinai have begun using Google Nest cameras in patient's rooms to provide video-based patient symptom and vital sign tracking – as well as two-way communication.

          Bloomberg Law: (5/13) – Former Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Honorary Chairman of the Internet Innovation Alliance penned an op-ed writing that Medicare and state telemedicine restrictions have been eased during the coronavirus pandemic, and these changes need to be made permanent.

          Healthcare IT News: (5/13) – A study from RAND Corporation finds that psychiatrists offering telemedicine for the first time have had largely positive perceptions of the transition. However, many say they plan to return to in-person care when possible due to the challenges of handling psychiatric medicine virtually.

          Healthcare IT News: (5/14) – MedStar Health leveraged an existing telehealth platform to respond to telehealth demand due to COVID-19, enabling 100,000 video visits between March 23 and May 1.

          Business Wire: (5/14) - BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is making in-network telehealth services permanent, making them the first major insurer to embrace telehealth for the long-term. From March 16 to April 14, the insurer managed 71,000 telehealth claims for its members – 18 times more than the number of claims submitted during the same time period in 2019.

          Healthcare IT News: (5/14) – The biggest barrier to telehealth now may be income divides. A new report finds that just 36% of people making less than $25,000 a year say they have access to telehealth, while 70% of those earning $100,000 or more have access.

          Healthcare Dive: (5/14) – Doctor on Demand became the first telehealth vendor to move into Medicare Part B which serves more than 33 million Americans, thanks to changes made during and for the COVID-19 pandemic.

          Healthcare Finance News: (5/14) – COVID-19 telehealth waivers won’t last beyond the public health emergency, but Congress will likely be pressured to make lasting changes especially in reimbursement.

          Health Tech Magazine: (5/14) – Some of the ways in which telehealth is now more important than ever include: 1) it protects medical personnel and patients; 2) it enables radiologists to read from anywhere, potentially changing forever how radiologists work; 3) it increases healthcare access in senior living communities; 4) it helps conserve supplies and bed space; 5) it supports specialists such as cardiology and psychiatry; 6) it brings care to populations in need.

          Upcoming Events 

          May 18 – NIHCM, “Growing Challenges of Substance Use, Treatment & Recovery During COVID-19.” Webinar

          May 19 - Amwell, "Telehealth and Medicare Advantage:
          Trends and Best Practices for Health Plans During COVID-19
          Webinar - Alliance for Connected Care speaking

          June 9 – AHRQ, “A National Web Conference on the Role of Telehealth to Increase Access to Care and Improve Healthcare Quality.” Webinar

          Please send any news or events to for inclusion in this newsletter.

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