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February 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.

The American Telemedicine Association recently released an updated report on the status of telemedicine coverage and reimbursement for state Medicaid programs. Oklahoma was among nine states awarded an overall grade of "A," up from a "B" last year. Missouri, Kansas and 32 other states received a "B." Here is a quick breakdown of what the report reveals for HTRC's coverage area of Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas.
Allied health
Missouri is among a handful of states that cover dental, podiatry and optometry.
Mental/behavioral health
In addition to psychiatrists, psychologists and APRNs with mental health specialties, both Missouri and Oklahoma cover mental health services provided by licensed clinical social workers and licensed professional counselors. 

Oklahoma is one of only four states to explicitly cover autism spectrum disorder treatment by behavioral analysts and one of five states to cover services by substance abuse or addiction specialists.
Cell phones
Despite Missouri's numerous improvements in coverage, the state is one of only five to explicitly prohibit use of "cell phone video" for telemedicine.
Remote patient monitoring
Kansas is one of only three states to apply for a waiver that allows their Medicaid program to provide remote patient monitoring in homes or long-term care facilities.
Worker's compensation
Oklahoma includes telemedicine-provided services under worker's comp plans.
Oklahoma received an "A" for this category for removing the requirement that a telepresenter be in the room with the patient. However, Missouri got an honorable mention for only requiring a health care provider to be available on the premises rather than in the same room.
For more information about Medicaid coverage in your state, contact HTRC at 877-643-HTRC.

Columbia, Mo.
February 28 - March 1

Ready to implement your own ECHO program? In February, the Missouri Telehealth Network will host a two day, in- person immersion training that  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 participati on in an ECHO clinic.  If your organization is ready to replicate ECHO, please contact Lindsey Beckmann at or by phone at (573) 884-3753. 

MTN Training Conference
Columbia, Mo.
April 18 - 19

The Missouri Telehealth Network (MTN) 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

Register Here


Two telehealth bills introduced in Kansas House

Two pieces of telehealth legislation were introduced to the Kansas House of Representatives over the past two weeks, House Bill 2206 and House Bill 2254
HB 2206 is a parity bill that requires individual and group health insurance policies, along with KanCare (Medicaid), to provide coverage and payment for telehealth services at the same rate as services provided in-person. It also prevents applying excessive costs for telehealth services, such as deductibles or copayments, that would not be included for standard in-person care. HB 2206 keeps insurance companies and KanCare from denying eligibility, imposing maximum coverage exclusive to telehealth or dropping coverage for a service exclusively because it is provided through telemedicine. Currently, Kansas law does not mandate private insurance companies to cover telemedicine services, although the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) reports that 32 other states have some form of private payer policy. Also, KanCare doesn't reimburse for remote monitoring technologies, only the direct service between the physician and their patient.
HB 2254 allows physicians to establish a physician-patient relationship with those who receive telehealth services through "consultation with another physician who has an established relationship with the patient and an agreement to participate in the patient's care," or "a telehealth encounter, if the standard of care does not require an in-person encounter." These are in addition to the current in-person medical interview and physical examination requirement.
Both HB 2254 and HB 2206 have upcoming hearings in the Committee on Health and Human Services.

TAO welcomes new executive director

The Telehealth Alliance
of Oklahoma recently announced Dawn
Watson will serve as the new executive director. Watson
most recently served as the Oklahoma Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, leading the organization's advocacy efforts in the state. Prior, she served as a research analyst on the nonpartisan staff of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. In this position, Watson helped legislators with an array of topics including rural issues, agriculture and education. She also worked as a reporter for the state's largest newspaper before joining House staff. As a reporter, she covered a variety of issues such as health care, education and rural issues. As a native Oklahoman from a small, rural town, she has seen first-hand the importance of telemedicine in Oklahoma and is excited to be a part of TAO's work to advance telemedicine in the state.
Six tips you must know for telehealth funding

Last month, HTRC Director Eve-Lynn Nelson, Ph.D. presented the monthly Telehealth Resource Center webinar. Tapping into her years of experience and millions of dollars worth of telehealth funding procured, she summarized these tips for grant funding success: 

1. Know whose expertise do you need at the table to make a compelling case. Encourage multiple perspectives and don't forget business people to read the fine print, and creative people for input on detailed pictures and titles.


2. Consider the long haul when looking for grant opportunities, such as whether a grant will be recurring or not. Research several different types of potential funders (patient populations, service sites, health conditions, health prevention, government, telecommunication companies, internal, professional organization, foundation, etc.) Remember that sometimes smaller grants can be just as impactful as big ones in the long run.


3. Make your plan as easy to review as possible -- avoid jargon, organize your writing, and use pictures if allowed. Remember the reviewer may not know specialty language, so make sure to use plain language. Continue communication with the program officer/funder throughout the project for clarity, and after the project is complete, to establish relationships for future network development.


4. Do your homework about who's eligible to apply. If your organization is not, you could become eligible if there are any partnership opportunities. Collaborate on putting together a persuasive budget narrative, and sketch out how the budget will meet aims.


5. Establish your vision first to stay organized and energize the community. Are you looking to advance business planning for the purpose of establishing short or long-term sustainability; or a time-based research grant, in order to inform other programs about whether this approach will work? 


6. Don't forget to reach out to your regional Telehealth Resource Center for long-term planning needs!


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