View in browser
Connected Care Update

August 17, 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.

Call to Action: Cosponsorship Push

Protecting Access to Post-COVID-19 Telehealth Act 

House Telehealth Caucus leaders sent a "Dear Colleague" letter encouraging other Representatives to consponsor the Protecting Access to Post-COVID-19 Telehealth Act (H.R. 7663).  Now is the right time for you to weigh in with members of the House about this important legislation.

Federal Agency Telehealth Activity / Guidance

The Alliance for Connected Care continues to update a COVID-19 website tracking guidance.  We have also posted our summary of the CY2021 Physician Fee Schedule. 

HHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: (8/7) – AHRQ issued a blog and issue brief on using telemedicine for accurate and timely diagnoses. The issue brief provides a list of opportunities and challenges for clinicians and patients to address when using telediagnosis. View the blog and issue brief.

CMS: (8/11) – On August 11, CMS released a Report to Congress on using telehealth and remote patient monitoring to reduce barriers to furnishing substance use disorder services for pediatric populations under Medicaid. View the report to Congress.

Congressional Activity and Legislation

The Alliance for Connected Care continues to update a recent telehealth legislation page with information about bills referenced.

Telehealth Act (H.R. 7992) – Rep. Wagner (R-MO) introduced the Telehealth Act (H.R. 7992), which includes a package of nine bills introduced by Republicans to expand access to telehealth services. View the press release and summary. The bill includes the following pieces of legislation:

    Letter to FCC: (8/13) – On August 13, House Energy & Commerce Committee Chair Pallone (D-NJ) and Communications & Technology Subcommittee Chair Doyle (D-PA) led 13 Representatives in a letter to FCC Chair Pai to provide unlimited voice minutes and mobile data to Lifeline program recipients, and provide an increase in the support amount to cover incremental costs, for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Committee members noted that now more than ever Americans need the Lifeline program to support telework, telehealth, education and other services offered online. View the press release and letter.

    Dear Colleague: (8/11) – The House Telehealth Caucus leaders sent a "Dear Colleague" letter to encourage cosponsorship of the Protecting Access to Post-COVID-19 Telehealth Act (H.R. 7663). The Dear Colleague cited the letter sent last week with over 200 organizations to House Telehealth Caucus Representatives Thompson, Welch, Matsui, Schweikert, and Johnson endorsing the Protecting Access to Post-COVID-19 Telehealth Act of 2020 (HR 7663). View the Dear Colleague letter. View last week's endorsement letter

    News and Reports

    Annals of Internal Medicine: (8/10) – A retrospective analysis of adults using VA care during COVID found a 56% decline in in-person visits which was partly offset by a more than 2-fold increase in the number of telephone and video visits. However, overall, there was still a 30% decline in the number of outpatient visits.

    The Daily Chronicle: (8/10) – Some patients are finding it easier to get access to opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment now that treatment can be conducted over the phone. And providers are noticing their no-show rates for treatment are down.

    Journal of the American Heart Association: (8/11) – A scientific statement published in JAHA on the current knowledge related to interstage home monitoring for infants with shunt‐dependent single ventricle heart disease found that a home monitoring program helped reduce infant mortality by more than 40% and a decrease in growth failure by 28%.

    Modern Healthcare: (8/11) – Telehealth has shown its many positives during COVID, including convenience, safety, and accessibility. Arielle Trzcinski, a senior analyst with Forrester notes that doctor groups will provide more virtual care because patients who tried it during the pandemic may go elsewhere if they don't. She also estimates that virtual care could eventually replace up to 40% of in-person doctor visits that don't involve hospital stays.

    Healthcare IT News: (8/11) – HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) held a Tech Forum this week featuring conversations about the future for virtual care. Virtual care topics included a conversation on reimbursement, connectivity and reaching rural and underserved communities, and audio-only.

    Kaiser Health News: (8/12) – KHN’s chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner joined WDET’s “Detroit Today” host Stephen Henderson and Dr. George Kipa, the deputy chief medical officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, to talk about the future of telemedicine and whether Medicare and private insurers will continue to pay for those services.

    Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists: (8/12) CMS guidance clarifies that accredited and recognized diabetes self-management training (DSMT) programs, eligible to bill Medicare Part B directly for DSMT services, may furnish and bill for DSMT services provided via telehealth during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE). Adding DSMT programs to list of “professionals” eligible to provide telehealth services removes the final regulatory barriers preventing registered nurses (RNs) and pharmacists from furnishing DSMT services via telehealth.

    The Commonwealth Fund: (8/13) – The Commonwealth Fund released their August update on visit trends during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report finds an increase in telemedicine visits in the newest COVID-19 hotspots and a modest decrease in total visits. The report also finds that FQHCs are providing more of their care via telemedicine compared to other practices, which may be driven by their patient populations and greater likelihood providing behavioral health services.

    mHealthIntelligence: (8/13) – Tennessee lawmakers passed legislation this week that would require payers to cover telehealth services at the same rate as in-person care and cover RPM services if that services is covered by Medicare, with payer and provider negotiating the amount of reimbursement. The bill also expands the definition of originating site as “as the location where a patient is located for telehealth services and that originates telehealth service to another qualified site.”

    Health Affairs Blog: (8/14) - A researcher from the RAND Corporation writes about telehealth uptake, some negative and positive experiences, and provides commentary on long-term viability.  Despite concerns, the article calls for Congress to signal intentions clearly - to allow investment in thoughtful and sustainable telehealth models. 

    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.