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.