View in browser
Last Week in Connected Care:
Recent Developments and Clips

Week Ending June 12, 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.

Subscribe to the newsletter and send any news or events to for inclusion.

Federal Agency Telehealth Activity / Guidance

The Alliance for Connected Care continues to update a COVID-19 website tracking guidance.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: (6/10) – CDC issued guidance for healthcare systems, practices and providers using telehealth services to provide virtual care during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance describes the landscape of telehealth services, provides strategies to increase telehealth uptake, and offers potential limitations of telehealth – one of which includes interstate licensure challenges and other regulatory issues that may vary by state.

Federal Communications Commission: (6/10) – FCC approved the 10th set of COVID-19 Telehealth Program applications, funding an additional 67 health care providers. To date, FCC’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program has funded 305 health care providers in 42 states and D.C. for a total of $104.98 million in funding. List of awards and article.

CMS: (6/9) – CMS released recommendations for reopening facilities for non-emergent, non-COVID-19 healthcare for areas in Phase II. In addition to reopening recommendations, the document recommends optimization of telehealth services when available and appropriate. View recommendations and patient guide.

    Congressional Activity and Legislation 

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

    Letter: (6/12) – House Energy & Commerce Committee Chair Pallone (D-NJ) and Communications & Technology Subcommittee Chair Doyle (D-PA) sent a letter to FCC Chair Pai requesting the Commission provide additional transparency on the distribution of funds through the COVID-19 Telehealth Program, see press release. Specifically, Reps. Pallone and Doyle request FCC provide transparency on its decisions and take the following actions by June 19, and update weekly:

    • Publish a docket of applications the Commission has received for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program;
    • Include information regarding applications that have been approved; including information regarding the date on which funds were actually dispersed; and
    • Include a summary of any uses or devices that were not approved for reimbursement.

    Helping Ensure Access to Local TeleHealth (HEALTH) Act (H.R. 7187): (6/11) – Reps. Thompson (R-PA) and Butterfield (D-NC) introduced the HEALTH Act, which would provide for permanent payments for telehealth services furnished by Federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics under the Medicare program. See press release. The Alliance is tracking this bill and others on our Telehealth Legislation page.

    Increasing Rural Health Access During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Act (H.R. 7190/S. 3951): (6/11) – Reps. Torres Small (D-NM) and Newhouse (R-WA) introduced the Increasing Rural Health Access During the COVID-19 PHE Act, which would provide for the establishment of a virtual health pilot program to facilitate utilization of remote patient monitoring technology to maintain or expand access to health care services for individuals in rural areas during the COVID-19 emergency period. Sens. McSally (R-AZ) and Jones (D-AL) introduced companion legislation in the Senate (S. 3951). See press release. The Alliance is tracking this bill and others on our Telehealth Legislation page.

    Home-Based Telemental Health Care Act (S. 3917): (6/9) – Sens. Rounds (R-SD), Smith (D-MN) and six bipartisan cosponsors introduced the Home-Based Telemental Health Care Act, which would establish a home-based telemental health care demonstration program for purposes of increasing mental health services in rural medically underserved populations and for individuals in farming, fishing, and forestry occupations. See press release

    News and Reports

    Healthcare Innovation: (6/8) – Intermountain is expanding the list of conditions for its in-home, hospital-level care offering, which includes various remote patient monitoring, telemedicine capabilities, and virtual urgent care visits. See press release.

    Healthcare IT News: (6/8) - "Telehealth solutions need to be deployed in a culturally competent, equitable way to ensure they reach the communities that need the most support," said David Smith, executive director for the Medicaid Transformation Project in an interview with Healthcare IT News. "Tactically, this means ensuring these solutions offer appropriate language capabilities, provide the ability to communicate in multiple modalities (including SMS), and factor in how different cultures interact with the healthcare system, especially healthcare workers, he said.

    STAT: (6/9) – “I can’t imagine going back,” Seema Verma, CMS Administrator, told STAT during a live virtual event. “People recognize the value of this, so it seems like it would not be a good thing to force our beneficiaries to go back to in-person visits.” Verma also said telemedicine visits jumped to more than 1 million a week, compared to about 12,000 before March.

    Fierce HealthCare: (6/9) – Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Amwell said they averaged 5,000 telehealth visits a day – now they see between 45,000-50,000. Further, 75% of clients’ patient visits are online, up from just 2% - 3%.

    mHealthIntelligence: (6/9) – An mHealth group has unveiled a step-count algorithm designed to make it easier for providers and researchers to use telehealth platforms that incorporate wearables. According to the group, accurate gait assessments serve as a diagnostic and prognostic tool for neurological conditions, such as stroke, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, and partial paralysis; a general assessment of aging; and as a proxy for assessing cognition.

    Becker’s Hospital Review: (6/9) - By mid-April, UPMC was averaging around 47,500 virtual visits per week. UPMC's telemedicine increase has predominantly been in the ambulatory space, replacing traditional in-clinic face-to-face visits. UPMC plans to sustain 50% of telemedicine growth post-COVID-19 pandemic.

    Fierce Healthcare: (6/10) - According to data from UnitedHealth Group and consumer research company CivicScience, 29% of consumers said they used telehealth in May up from 8% in December. The percentage of consumers who don't plan to use telehealth dropped from 72% in December to 47% in May.

    Dark Reading: (6/10) – The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently began working with leading industry vendors and subject matter experts to undertake a comprehensive analysis of telemedicine services to map out the attack surface, identify the key potential points of failure, and devise new telemedicine cybersecurity standards for the industry to follow. Read more about the project here.

    mHealthIntelligence: (6/11) – The FCC is looking to expand the Broadcast Internet spectrum to give healthcare providers more opportunities to expand their reach. In a Declaratory Ruling issued this week, the FCC clarified that long-standing television station ownership restrictions don’t apply to the leasing of spectrum for such uses as telemedicine, smart agriculture, and smart cars.

    Healthcare IT News: (6/11) - Athenahealth announced this week that it launched an embedded telehealth tool to allow practitioners to conduct virtual visits without having to download separate software or use another third-party app. According to the company, "the athenahealth network saw a 3,400% overall increase in daily telehealth visits from mid-February to late April."

    Mobihealthnews: (6/11) – In a recent HIMSS Digital presentation, Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) professors explained that telemedicine educational programs can be integrated into a range of healthcare curriculums and colleges, and can benefit everyone from undergraduates to practicing medical providers.

    Inside Health Policy: (6/12) – Stakeholders and policymakers continue to call for some of the relaxed telehealth requirements to be continued after the pandemic. Jim Parker, senior advisor for health reform at HHS, said at a Bipartisan Policy Center event that the Trump administration is seeking to ensure available technology can support a telehealth expansion, with HHS working alongside the Federal Communication Commission and the Department of Agriculture. He said HHS could create a reimbursement policy for telehealth, but it might not work without available broadband or technology. Kripa Sreepada, health policy advisor to Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN), said at the BPC event that there is bipartisan interest in making some of the telehealth changes permanent. However, Sreepada said more studies should be done on whether providers prefer telehealth over in-person visits, as well as which services should be offered using only audio. A spokesperson for Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), who was an original sponsor of the CONNECT for Health Act, said the senator was pleased to see provisions of the bill be enacted during COVID, but is advocating for them to be permanent.

    Upcoming Events 

    June 17 – Senate HELP Committee, “Telehealth: Lessons from the COVID-19 PandemicWebinar

    June 17 – Indian Health Service, “Telemedicine: An Effective Strategy in Diabetes ManagementWebinar

    July 9 – Health IT Leadership Roundtable, “Virtual Care as the New NormalWebinar

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

    Event Recordings 

        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.