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May 2017    
HTRC's monthly telehealth bulletin

Heartland Telehealth Resource Center is here to meet your telehealth needs. We are a federally funded organization serving Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, with a wide range of services, and many of them are free. Email us at or call us at 877-643-HTRC.
Physical Therapy Licensure Compact

State licensure requirements have been an onerous barrier to telemedicine access, innovation, and expansion, particularly along state borders. But there is good news for physical therapists hoping to practice across borders - the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact (PTLC), developed by the Federation of State Boards for Physical Therapy (FSBPT), came into effect in April. Washington state was the tenth state to enact the legislation, the minimum number needed for it to go into effect. Missouri is among the ten member states, having passed the legislation last year. In Oklahoma, legislation to join the Compact passed the Senate but did not pass the House.

O ther co mpact member states include Oregon, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, Arizona, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi. The compact will become operational as soon as Compact Commission officials from member states finalize implementation development and institute rules and bylaws. These Commission meetings begin June 14.
"We believe that the structure and tenets of the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact provide the checks and balances to ensure enhanced access to the qualified [allied] health workforce in our country," said Jonathan Linkous, the ATA's CEO, in a Jan. 27, 2016 letter to William A. Hatherill, his counterpart at the FSBPT. "At the same time, the compact will provide a multi-state licensing framework for other health professionals using advanced technologies."
Heartland Teleheath states have varied markedly in their participation in licensure compacts. Kansas is a member of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC) , but not Missouri or Oklahoma, as noted in last month's newsletter. The IMLC, similar to other compacts, streamlines a process for physicians to obtain licenses to practice across state lines.

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing has projected that its Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact will be established by the end of 2018. Missouri, but not Kansas or Oklahoma, has also enacted legislation to join this compact, which allows registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPNs/VNs) to have one multi-state license.

HTRC will keep you updated as these and other licensure compacts advance.

Washington, DC
June 1 - 2

At CTeL's 8th Annual Executive Telehealth Summit, leading thinkers and innovators in the medical community grapple with all of the issues surrounding the use of emerging technologies that hold potential to improve the delivery of safe and quality medical care.
Here is a sample of sessions on the agenda that might be of special interest to Telehealth Resource Centers (TRC):
  • Expanding Telehealth Reimbursement: CTeL Working Group Update on the Effort with the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) 
  • Telehealth: The Undefined $20 Billion Industry 
  • 3-Step Patient Engagement Training Workshop 
  • A Workshop for Setting Up Your Telemedicine Operations 
Past attendees can attest that the TRCs both benefit from and contribute to the value of the Summit experience. 

On the second Tuesday of the month the National Frontier and Rural Addiction Technology Transfer Center hosts "Telehealth Tuesdays"  to share resources related to delivering substance use disorder treatment and recovery services. The forum includes podcasts, webinars and even mock counseling sessions, depending on the month.  Join Telehealth Tuesday on June 13  to hear HTRC Program Director Eve-Lynn Nelson share best practices for childhood adolescent telemental health.

Wichita , Kansas
July 10-11

Attend the 2017 Kansas Broadband Conference,"Growing & Expanding Opportunities Through Broadband," and discover why broadband access and adoption is critically important to Kansas' future. This two-day conference brings together knowledgeable panelists and industry leaders .  The Kansa s Broadband Conference is a resource to assist you in developing broadband based projects to help you meet the visions and goals of your group. Topics include:
  • Project Development from the Ground Up: From idea to implementation, what is the development and planning process? 
  • Selling to your stakeholders: Who needs to be involved in a project and when do you need to get them involved?
  • Assessing your current internet based programs: What services do you want to offer in your community?
  • Establish the financial feasibility for a program you are developing
  • Expanding technological capabilities: Infusing technology into operations and activities. What are some of the rules and regulations around what you can do with technology? 

ECHO Immersion Training
Columbia, Mo. 
August 1-2

Ready to implement your own ECHO program? In
August , the Missouri Telehealth Network will host a two day, in-person ECHO Immersion Training which  will offer a general overview of Project ECHO and dive deeper into the ECHO model. The training will focus on next steps for implementation  including participation in an ECHO clinic. Through immersion, participants will develop an ongoing relationship with the Show-Me ECHO replication team and other ECHO staff members, who will assist in setting up ECHO clinics.

If your organization is ready to replicate ECHO, please contact Lindsey Beckmann at  or by phone at (573) 884-3753. 

Columbia, Mo. 
September 26 & 27, 2017 

Missouri Telehealth Network provides formal and informal training to new and existing members of the network. This training offers a thorough overview of telehealth including:
  • How to use telehealth devices and trouble-shoot equipment problems 
  • Public and private policies impacting telehealth, billing requirements, JCAHO standards and HIPAA regulations
  • Clinical, administrative and educational applications of telehealth
  • Telehealth use in specialties and other programs such as Show-Me ECHO.

HTRC partners present at National Rural Health Association Conference

Representatives from HTRC partners Missouri Telehealth Network and University of Kansas Center for Telemedicine and Telehealth recently presented on Project ECHO and telehealth at the National Rural Health Association Conference in San Diego. Carla Decker, director of Project EC HO at the University of Kansas and Rachel Mutrux, director of Missou ri Telehealth Network were invited to speak by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, Office for the Advancement of Telehealth. 

Though providers often vie w telehealth as a way to connect rural patients to specialists in larger cities,  ECHO uses telehealth to build capacity in rural areas by training providers in specialty skills so they can treat rural patients locally. In her presentation, Decker also pointed out a useful "side-effect" of EC HO: using video-conferencing for ECHO can help make providers more comfortabl e with the  technology, thereby increasing their willingnes s to use telehealth with patients in the future.

The session was moderated by Sarah Bryce, deputy director of the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, Office for the Advancement of Telehealth. Becky Sanders, director of the Upper Mid-West Telehealth Resource Center also presented.  
Practical tips for procuring telehealth reimbursement

In April,  Kansas City Digital Drive, with support from  REACH Healthcare Foundation, sponsored a workshop "Reimbursement to Value in Telehealth" to help providers better navigate the telehealth reimbursement universe. HTRC Director Eve-Lynn Nelson, Ph.D served on a panel to discuss telehealth success stories.
The day was packed with useful information, according to HTRC Project Director Janine Gracy, but of particular note were some practical tips from Karen Johnson of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City. Here are a few of Johnson's tips: 
  • It is important to proactively reach out to each plan to determine what is available for telehealth reimbursement
  • Be prepared to be firm with the payer
  • Demonstrate that you have the technology to meet their requirements
  • Use the payer's vocabulary. For example, some plans may use "telehealth," while others may use "web therapy" or "virtual health."  You must use their exact words! 
"Telehealth billing can be puzzling, but there are ways to get paid for the service," added Gracy. Persistence pays off.  We all look forward to the day when telehealth is seen as another tool in health care that deserves same reimbursement as in person."
For more tips for reimbursement success, call HTRC at 877-643-HTRC.

Senator Moran (R-Kan.) convenes hearing to discuss VA Telemedicine

U.S. Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas, hosted a hearing on May 5 to hear testimony on telehealth use in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Representatives in the public and private sector discussed increasing access to healthcare, improving health outcomes, and lowering costs for veterans, specifically through telemedicine programs at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Moran, who is Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veteran's Affairs and Related Agencies, said telehealth is important for the care of rural veterans.

"Through telehealth, the Department has the means and flexibility to provide care to veterans who do not have easy access to a VA hospital or access to a VA hospital staffed with the care they need," said Moran.

Moran spoke on behalf of rural veterans and their need for increased access to quality, flexible healthcare, particularly for those in remote locations like rural Kansas. The fiscal needs for modern information technology infrastructure and platforms were also discussed as the VA was awarded a $258 million Home Telehealth contract earlier this year.

"I look forward today to hearing VA's plan to increase such care in the places that need it most, and I want to hear from those in and outside of the Department about ways we, Congress, can support and further expand the use of this life-changing, and in some cases, life-saving care," said Moran. 

Show-Me ECHO funding restored

Show-Me ECHO recently received good news from the Missouri legislature - they voted to restore funding that had been cut from Governor Eric Greiten's budget. The governor's budget would have reduced funding to $1.3 million but the project will now be fully funded at $1.5 million.
Two of the ECHO specialty clinics, Chronic Pain Management ECHO and a new ECHO, Substance Use Disorder, have been funded by a SAMHSA grant to the Missouri Department of Mental Health. This grant is part of SAMHSA's State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis program. Chronic Pain Management ECHO was the first ECHO clinic offered in Missouri. The Substance Use Disorder ECHO will start in the fall.

Project ECHO

Project ECHO is a program using telemedicine to revolutionize medical education  and improve access to specialty care. Project ECHO, which was developed by the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, works by connecting primary care clinicians with specialist teams via videoconference. 

Each specialty area has its own ECHO, such as autism or chronic pain. ECHO teams meet regularly to hear cases from providers and make recommendations.

Heartland Telehealth Resource Center | | 
 4330 Shawnee Mission Parkway   Fairway, KS 66205