View in browser
Last Week in Connected Care

Week Ending July 24, 2020

Please find below updates on how the health care system is leveraging telehealth and remote patient monitoring - including research, data, and polling on its current use in response to COVID-19.

Endorsement Opportunity - HR 7663

Organizations can sign on to endorse the Protecting Access to Post-Covid-19 Telehealth Act (H.R. 7663). Signatures are due by Friday, July 31.

The Alliance for Connected Care is pleased to support this bipartisan legislation.  View our press release supporting the introduction of the bill here.  More details on the launch event for this legislation are shared below.  Organizations May Sign Here

Renewed: COVID-19 Public Health Emergency 

COVID-19 PHE Declaration: On July 23, HHS Secretary Azar– signed an extension of the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration, which will be effective July 25 and remain in effect until October 23, unless renewed again.  This means that most telehealth flexibility (tied to the PHE) will continue. 

    Alliance News

    Legislative Advocacy Kickoff with the House Telehealth Caucus: (7/23) – The Alliance worked alongside other digital health groups to host a virtual rally with House Telehealth Caucus Reps. Thompson (D-CA), Welch (D-VT), Schweikert (R-AZ) Johnson (R-OH) and Matsui (D-CA) to discuss the bipartisan Protecting Access to Post-Covid-19 Telehealth Act (H.R. 7663). A recording of the event can be viewed here.

    • Recently, the Alliance helped convene 340 organizations on a letter calling for Congress to make several meaningful and permanent action to address statutory barriers to telehealth. This legislation takes decisive action on several of the top priorities.

    The Taskforce on Telehealth Policy a multi-stakeholder effort convened by the Alliance for Connected Care, NCQA and ATA continues to meet in subgroups. The Subgroup on Expanding Telehealth and its Effect on Total Cost of Care seeks to demonstrate what we have learned about telehealth utilization and its effect on prevention, urgent care, transportation, and etc. Our goal is to educate a conversation about what impact expanding telehealth access in Medicare will have on federal budgeting models.

    We are seeking data in the following areas:

    1. To what extent is telehealth serving as a replacement for in-person case?
    2. How many telehealth visits result in follow-up care vs. a resolved issue?
    3. To what extent does access to telehealth care change patient behavior/increase consumer utilization of services otherwise offered in person?
    4. To what extent can data experts examine telehealth care while discounting both COVID-care and delayed elective procedures?

    View the Telehealth Data Collection page and view more information about the Taskforce on Telehealth Policy here.

    In the News:

    • Rep. Spanberger (D-VA) Press release: (7/23) – Krista Drobac, Executive Director of the Alliance for Connected Care was quoted in a press release announcing the introduction of the COVID-19 Telehealth Program Extension Act would provide an additional $200 million in funding for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program. “Telehealth has proven to be a vital tool in enhancing access to care during COVID-19,” said Krista Drobac, Executive Director, Alliance for Connected Care. “The Alliance for Connected Care applauds Representatives Spanberger (D-VA) and Johnson (R-SD) for their leadership in working to ensure additional FCC funding that will support access to the broadband and devices needed to provide these critical healthcare services.
    • Healthcare IT News: (7/23) – Krista Drobac was quoted in a news article highlighting our virtual rally introducing the Protecting Access to Post-Covid-19 Telehealth Act (H.R. 7663). Any new policies must do more than simply extend temporary waivers, said Krista Drobac. "Why are you [as a provider] going to invest in changing workflow, educating patients on the value of telehealth, doing all that work, not knowing if this is going to end … in 2021?" she said. She also pointed out that many state governments have also been in limbo waiting for the federal government to take action. "We need to work together," said Drobac. "We have an unprecedented opportunity to go big."

      Congressional Activity and Legislation

      The Alliance for Connected Care continues to update a recent telehealth legislation page.

      Discussion Draft: (7/20) – House Ways & Means Committee, Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Nunes (R-CA) led House Ways & Means Committee Republicans in releasing discussion draft of legislation that would make several of the temporary COVID-19 telehealth flexibilities permanent. View the press release and summary.

      KEEP Telehealth Options Act (S. 4216): (7/20) – Sens. Fischer (R-NE) and Rosen (D-NV) introduced the KEEP Telehealth Options Act (S. 4216) (companion legislation introduced in the House (H.R. 7233) by Reps. Balderson (R-OH) and Axne (D-IA)) which would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct studies and report to Congress on actions taken to expand access to telehealth services under the Medicare, Medicaid, and Children's Health Insurance programs during the COVID-19 emergency. View the press release

      Telehealth Expansion Act of 2020 (S. 4230): (7/20) – Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Wyden (D-OR) and Casey (D-PA) introduced the Telehealth Expansion Act of 2020 (S. 4230), which would expand access to mental health services and certain evaluation and management services furnished through telehealth under the Medicare program. View the press release

      COVID-19 Emergency Telehealth Impact Reporting Act of 2020 (H.R. 7695): (7/21) – Reps. Curtis (R-UT), Welch (D-VT) and Sherrill (D-NJ) introduced the COVID-19 Emergency Telehealth Impact Reporting Act of 2020 (H.R. 7695), which would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to collect, analyze, and report qualitative and quantitative data on the use of telehealth during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Sens. Young (R-IN), Capito (R-WV) and King (I-ME) introduced companion legislation in the Senate (S. 4289). View the press release

      Letter: (7/21) – Reps. Spanberger (D-CA) and Johnson (R-SD) led 39 bipartisan representatives in a letter to FFC Chair Pai on data regarding the COVID-19 Telehealth Program rollout and how much more funding would be required to continue the program and fulfill all pending applications. View the press release.

      COVID-19 Telehealth Program Extension Act (H.R. 7760): (7/23) – Following a letter sent earlier this week, Reps. Spanberger (D-VA) and Johnson (R-SD) along with five bipartisan cosponsors introduced the COVID-19 Telehealth Program Extension Act (H.R. 7760), which would make a supplemental appropriation of $200 million for the FCC’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2020. View the press release. (Alliance for Connected Care endorsement statement for this bill in Alliance news above)

      News and Reports

      mHealthIntelligence: (7/20) – An Arizona-based health system is using telehealth to help staff remotely monitor patients in the ICU, reducing the need for in-person visits and PPE use.

      The Hill: (7/20) – Rep. Troy Balderson (R-OH) posted an op-ed highlighting the KEEP Telehealth Options Act (H.R. 7233), which he led introduction along with Rep. Axne (D-IA) and would instruct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study and report to United States Congress on the expansion of telehealth services during the COVID-19 outbreak, the uptake of those services by patients across the country, and GAO’s recommendations for enhancing the quality of and access to these services. “While telehealth is not a full replacement for in-person visits, it presents a legitimate, safe, and cost-effective option for many patients’ needs,” he wrote.

      mHealthIntelligence: (7/20) – Cancer care centers in Philadelphia, New Hampshire and Oklahoma are using grants awarded from the National Cancer Institute to examine how telehealth has helped improve care management and coordination during the COVID-19 pandemic.

      mHealthIntelligence: (7/21) – Christina Quinlan, director of operations for a FQHC off the coast of Maine presented at a virtual conference hosted by the Northeast Telehealth Resource Center (NETRC) and the Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center (MATRC) and highlighted the benefits of using telehealth to identify and address social determinants of health. “Telehealth fills the critical gaps,” she said.

      POLITICO: (7/22) – New data insights from Epic Health Research Network found that as office visits are resuming, telehealth visits are stabilizing – and the combination of telehealth and office visits never go above initial utilization.

      Healthcare IT News: (7/22) – With an FCC award, and payment barriers behind them, the Wright Center for Community Health located in Scranton, Pennsylvania developed a telehealth-EHR system so patients can easily receive care in the home, and providers can work across one platform.

      mHealthIntelligence: (7/22) – Hospitals in New Jersey and New York are launching a telehealth program that will use sensors embedded in clothing to remotely monitor patients infected with coronavirus. The technology will be used to track cardiac, pulmonary and circulatory biomarkers.

      HIT Consultant: (7/22) – GoodRx announced it has expanded its HeyDoctor telehealth service across all 50 states and Washington, D.C. HeyDoctor provides access to licensed providers who can treat a range of conditions.

      Health Affairs: (7/23) – A new article in Health Affairs calls for a series of changes for better health care after the pandemic, including widely adopting telehealth.

      Compassion & Choices: (7/23) – Sylvia Trujillo, formerly with the American Medical Association and HHS, recapped a webinar in which she discussed with members of the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) the importance of telehealth among high risk and vulnerable patients.

      mHealthIntelligence: (7/23) – The Indiana University School of Medicine and the Regenstrief Institute are partnering with VA’s Quality Enhance Research Initiative (QUERI) to develop telehealth programs for stroke (TeleNeurology), chronic pain (TelePain) and geriatric (TeleGRACE) care.

      Notable Telehealth Commentary

      House Telehealth Caucus Reps. Thompson (D-CA), Welch (D-VT), Schweikert (R-AZ) Johnson (R-OH) and Matsui (D-CA) discussed the bipartisan Protecting Access to Post-Covid-19 Telehealth Act during a virtual rally this week:

      “We must make sure critical telehealth expansions are available beyond the pandemic and for all future disasters,” said Rep. Thompson (D-CA).

      "Up to this point - due to cost concerns alone - we have been limited in expanding telehealth services," said Rep. Matsui (D-CA). "Telehealth has proven vital to preserving continuity of care...we must act now to make telehealth policies permanent."

      “Patients and providers are pleased with the temporary restrictions that came down that enabled them to get care at home," said Rep. Johnson (R-OH).

      Telehealth is convenient for the provider and the patient. “We must get telehealth expanded so access is improved all across America,” said Rep. Welch (D-VT).

      Upcoming Events 

      July 27 – Better Medicare Alliance, “Telehealth & the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Webinar

      July 29 – STAT, “Inside the virtual care boom: What happens when the point of care becomes anywhere?Webinar

      July 29 – URAC, (featuring Alliance for Connected Care, ACHP) “Telehealth Today: Politics and Innovation Converge.” Webinar

      July 29 – HHS, "Telehealth for Community-Based Organizations." Series of three webinars

      July 29 - Southwest Telehealth Resource Center, Desert Expertise: DIY; How to make an Efficient and Highly Effective HIV Telemedicine Clinic, Webinar

      Past Events

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

      Alliance for Connected Care

      1100 H St NW, Suite 740

      Washington, D.C. 20005

      twitter website

      You received this email because you signed up or registered for one of our events.