December 2020
Dear Colleagues,

First and foremost, Happy Holidays & Happy New Year to you and yours, from all of your friends at the NETRC! We all know it's been a challenging year, and the NETRC team is so grateful to have passionate, dedicated, and driven telehealth leaders and champions throughout our region. Although it was far from ideal conditions, you have truly transformed health care access through telehealth in 2020. Be sure to reflect on these accomplishments over the next few weeks, because you've earned it! As we look forward, the NETRC team knows we're just getting started, and we're excited to see how the innovation continues in the new year and moving forward.

Keep reading to find: regional and national updates, including a review of recent Federal guidance updates, along with a highlight on CCHP's Newest Materials (including a CY2021 PFS fact sheet, and a reimbursement educational video), snapshot of upcoming regional and national telehealth events, the most recent publications and headlines, and more!

Thank you all for your continued collaboration throughout 2020 - we wish you a healthy and safe holiday season and look forward to working with you in 2021! As always, please don't hesitate to reach out with your telehealth questions or success stories, or just to say hello.

On Behalf of the NETRC Team Happy Holidays & Be well,
Reid Plimpton, MPH - Project Manager
Check out our NEW video!
"Telehealth Perspectives"
Telehealth has created new opportunities for patients and clients to connect with providers in a way they prefer, enabling access to care when and where is it needed most, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our new short video shows a variety of ways telehealth can continue to be a vital part of our healthcare system as we move forward. The NETRC would like to thank the many volunteers who made this video possible!
Federal Policy and Guidance Updates
In Case You Missed It- A Quick Refresher of Recent Federal Updates
On Friday, October 23rd, DHHS Secretary Alex Azar signed a renewal of the Federal Public Health Emergency Declaration (PHE) due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. This extends the PHE considerations through January 2021.

In early November, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), finalized the CY 2021 Home Health rules, among other changes, the new rules include multiple temporary telehealth changes in response to COVID-19 that will be permanent moving forward, such as RPM services and other telecommunication avenues within a patient's plan of care.

On Friday November 20th, the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health & Human Services (“OIG”) released a new Final Rule: "Revisions to Safe Harbors under the Anti-Kickback Statute, and Civil Monetary Penalty Rules Regarding Beneficiary Inducements". This rule finalizes changes originally proposed in late 2019, more information can be found here, here, or in the full final rule document above.

CMS Calendar Year 2021 Physician Fee Schedule:
On December 1, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized the Calendar Year 2021 Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) (Full PDF).
The finalized 2021 PFS confirms the permanent addition of a number of codes that are currently on the Medicare telehealth list as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE), and adds other codes provisionally through the end of the year in which the PHE ends.

For a more thorough breakdown of the PFS Changes for CY2021, See our Special Edition Newsletter earlier this month here, or the CCHP Fact Shee recently released below!
CCHP’s Recently Released Telehealth Policy Primers:
An updated Fall 2020 version of CCHP’s “State Telehealth Laws and Reimbursement Policies” Report was released in September 2020. The Fall 2020 edition offers policymakers, health advocates and other interested health care professionals the usual detailed compendium of permanent state telehealth laws, regulations and Medicaid policies. For key Takeways, see the new At a Glance” Infographic or explore policy nuance in real time with their online interactive map tool!

In addition to their annual report, CCHP has started maintaining Regional Policy Trackers for each TRC Region, You can find the Northeast Reporting Tool Here.

CCHP's Fact Sheet on the changes included in the CMS CY2021 PFS updates mentioned above was recently released and is available here.

Last but certainly not least, see below or click here to check out CCHP's newest Short Video- an Animated Short on Telehealth Reimbursement Basics!
NCTRC Telehealth Landscape Survey
The National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers (NCTRC), consisting of 14 TRCs funded by a grant from the Office for the Advancement of Telehealth located within the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), is asking for feedback that will help us to assess the current telehealth landscape in your region, as well as to identify how your TRC is meeting telehealth education and information needs.  

Please take a few minutes to fill out the survey so that the TRCs can learn how to better serve you!
Upcoming & Archived Webinars
Coming Soon!
NCTRC Telehealth Hack: Pandemic Response Best Practices and Lessons Learned (2 part series)

The National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers (NCTRC) is now hosting the Telehealth Hack, Learn more & find previous events here.

January 13th, 2PM- 3PM (Eastern) National Pandemic Response Best Practices and Lessons Learned
Presented by:
• Doris Barta, MHA, Director, National Technology Assessment Center (TTAC)
• Mark VanderWerf, Fellow of the American Telemedicine Association
• Carl W. Taylor, JD, Regional Vice President for Provider Engagement for Humana's South Florida Market

January 27th, 2PM- 3PM (Eastern) Post-Acute Care and Long Term Care Facility Pandemic Response Best Practices and Lessons Learned
Presented by:
• Justin Mutter, MD, MSc, Section Chief and Assistant Professor of Geriatric Medicine, University of Virginia School of Medicine
• Laurie Archbald-Pannone, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine Division of General Medicine, Geriatrics and Palliative Care and Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health. Medical Director, UVA Outpatient Geriatric Clinic.
CCHP Policy Webinar Series - Telehealth and Medicaid Policy Webinar Series
4 Part Series, Starting January 15, 2021- 2:00PM-3:30PM (Eastern)
Starting in January 2021, the Center for Connected Health Policy (CCHP) will organize and host a telehealth webinar series targeted at Medicaid agencies!

Webinars will take place every Friday over a four-week period during the Winter series; CCHP also aims to host series in the Spring, and Fall of 2021. 

This webinar series is FREE of charge for all who wish to attend. Click the image to the right or the link below to learn more.

And in case you missed it:
November 19th, 2:00pm- 3:00PM (Eastern)
NCTRC Webinar Series:
Leveraging Telehealth to Address Social Determinants

Hosted by: Northeast Telehealth Resource Center
Presented by: Christina R. Quinlan: Telehealth Revenue Cycle Optimization Strategist- Northeast Telehealth Resource Center
Advances in technology and telehealth not only have the potential to increase access, diversify revenue, and decrease social determinants of health but will also help integrate social care back into the health care landscape. As the healthcare industry is shifting from fee-for-service to value-based care, planning, implementing and enhancing telehealth as a service delivery model will be a crucial part of the puzzle in ensuring that we are on the leading edge and not the bleeding edge of reimbursement strategies.

You can find All NCTRC Recordings Here
Featured Telehealth News
A larger news compilation can be found on the NETRC site here.

Abbott antigen test gets FDA nod as first at-home, virtually guided COVID-19 diagnostic
Healthcare Dive, Dec. 17, 2020 Link
The BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card Home Test, which requires a prescription, offers a telehealth service to walk users through the sample self-collection process and to help them read and understand their results. Abbott recently received FDA emergency use authorization for the 15-minute antigen test.
Brigham and Women’s sees telehealth success with home hospital program
mHealth Intelligence, December 17, 2020 Link
The program, launched in 2016 and now eligible for Medicare reimbursement, uses mHealth and telehealth tools to create a care management platform at home for acute care patients who would otherwise be hospitalized.
Analyzing the challenges and benefits of an inpatient telehealth platform
mHealth Intelligence, December 16, 2020 Link
When COVID-19 hit, Yale New Haven Health launched an aggressive program to use more than 1,800 telehealth and mHealth devices to improve workflows and patient care. Here's what the health system learned.

NY hospital launching remote patient monitoring program through Apple Watch
mHealth Intelligence, December 9, 2020 Link
The Hospital for Special Surgery is launching a telehealth program that will enable providers to monitor orthopedic patients at home before and after hospitalization through an mHealth app and the Apple Watch.
NY city uses telehealth to curb ER traffic, improve care coordination
mHealth Intelligence, December 8, 2020 Link
Schenectady is arming its EMS providers with tablets to connect via telehealth with an ER doctor during emergency calls, reducing roughly 70 percent of transports to the local hospital.
Analysis: CMS gives telehealth a boost, but more is needed
mHealth Intelligence, December 8, 2020 Link
Experts say the 2021 Physician Fee Schedule will advance telehealth adoption, but it falls short of giving momentum to remote patient monitoring. Oh, and Congress needs to step up to the plate, too.
HHS expands COVID-19 telehealth capabilities in PREP Act amendment
mHealth Intelligence, December 4, 2020 Link
The Health and Human Services Secretary will allow healthcare providers to use telehealth across state lines to deliver "Covered Countermeasures" against the coronavirus, including administration of diagnostic and testing services.
States can make a difference in long-term telehealth policies
Healthcare IT News, December 1, 2020 Link
A new National Governors Association report explores how different states are addressing key questions around licensure, reimbursement, incentives, privacy and more.
mHealth Intelligence, November 30, 2020 Link
According to a new study from New York published in Information Systems Research, telemedicine can address concerns of overcrowded emergency departments by reducing wait times, leading to improved patient satisfaction.
OIG audit analyzes telehealth use in substance abuse treatment
mHealth Intelligence, November 30, 2020 Link
The audit report by the DHHS Office of the Inspector General highlights how opioid treatment programs have used telehealth to improve access and care during the COVID-19 emergency and identifies the problems they've faced using the technology.
Many commercial telehealth reimbursement expansions end on Dec. 31, 2020—What comes next?
Center for Connected Health Policy, November 28, 2020 Link
Many favorable policies on telehealth reimbursement by private health insurance implemented during the pandemic plans expire at the end of the year. Uncertainty abounds about the fate of expanded coverage under plans by Aetna, United Healthcare, Cigna, Anthem, and Humana in the new year.
Guidelines for marketing a practice’s new telehealth platform
mHealth Intelligence, November 25, 2020 Link
With so many small and solo practices turning to telehealth to deal with the pandemic and build business, a marketing expert offers advice on how to advertise those new services.
CMS unveils new telehealth program to treat acute care patients at home
mHealth Intelligence, November 25, 2020 Link
The Acute Hospital Care at Home program would allow participating hospitals to qualify for Medicare waivers to treat patients at home via telehealth, reducing the strain on EDs and in-patient services. The expansion was supported by a study completed by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital.
New Jersey expands COVID-19 telehealth coverage for specialists
mHealth Intelligence, November 25, 2020 Link
State officials have amended practice standards to allow physical therapists, audiologists, speech language pathologists, social workers, psychologists, nurses and others to use telehealth during the pandemic.
Stark Law changes should benefit telehealth, remote patient monitoring
mHealth Intelligence, November 24, 2020 Link
The Office of the Inspector General’s Final Rule on changes to the Stark Law and Anti-Kickback Statute creates several new safe harbors that will help providers create and expand telehealth platforms and remote patient monitoring programs.
Dentists are adopting (and adapting to) using telehealth to stay afloat
mHealth Intelligence, November 23, 2020 Link
A new survey finds that dentists are not only using telehealth to stay in touch with patients, but are looking at alternative payment models and planning a long future with connected care. The survey was conducted by the non-profit group, the Boston-based DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement.
Northwell Health adds real-time bed visibility technology in preparation for COVID-19 surge
Healthcare Finance, November 13, 2020 Link
New York's largest healthcare provider, Northwell Health, is enhancing its COVID surge capacity by adding real-time bed visibility to its 19 facilities through a partnership with TeleTracking Technologies, a care coordination support company. The system is expected to expedite bed turnover, improve the patient discharge process, automate workflows and enhance communications.

Recommended Telehealth Research/Resources
Check out the complete Telehealth Library Database on the NETRC site here.

Barry K, McCarthy M, Melikian G, et al. Rhode Isl. Med. J. 103(9):41-46, 2020
Donelan CJ, Hayes E, Potee RA, Schwartz L, Evans EA. J. Subst. Abuse Treat. [epub ahead of print], December 2020
He X, Shelden D, Kraftson A, Else T, Auchus RJ. Clin. Diabetes Endocrinol. 6:25, 2020
Hoffman PE, London YR, Weerakoon TS, DeLucia NL. Healthcare 8(4):100482, 2020
Hyder MA, Razzak J. J. Med. Internet Res. [epub ahead of print], September 2020
Itamura K, Tang DM, Higgins TS, et al. Ann. Otol. Rhinol. Laryngol. [epub ahead of print], November 2020
Jeganathan S, Prasannan L, Blitz MJ, et al. Amer. J. Obstet. Gynecol MFM. 22:100233, 2020 htm
Khairat S, Pillai M, Edson B, Gianforcaro R. J. Patient Exp. 7(5):665-672, 2020
Krieger S.  Medscape Neurology, October 28, 2020 htm
Mansour O, Tajanlangit M, Heyward J, Mojtabai R, Alexander GC. Ann. Intern. Med. [epub ahead of print] November, 2020
Meyer MA. J. Patient Exp. 7(5):657-664, 2020
Miller MJ, Pak SS, Keller DR, Barnes DE. Phys. Ther. [epub ahead of print], December 2020
Mishkind MC, Shore JH, Schneck CD. Telemed. eHealth [epub ahead of print], December 2020
Nunan J, Clarke D, Malakouti A, et al. Acute Med. 19(4):183-191, 2020
Oesterle TS, Kolla B, Risma CJ, et al. Mayo Clin. Proc. 95(12):2709-2718, 2020
Office of the Inspector General. Department of Health and Human Services, November 2020
Pytell JD, Rastegar DA. J. Subst. Abuse Treat. 120:108155, 2021
Rabatin AE, Lynch ME, Severson MC, Brandenburg JE, Driscoll SW. J. Pediatr. Rehabil. Med. [epub ahead of print], October 2020
Shields AD, Wagner RK, Knutzen D, Deering S, Nielsen PE. J. Telemed. Telecare [epub ahead of print], November 2020
Sprowls GR, Brown JC, Robin BN. Arthrosc. Tech. 9(11):e1673-e1681, 2020
Telehealth Impact Study Work Group.  COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition, October 22, 2020
Weiss EF, Malik R, Santos T, et al. Neurodegener. Dis. Manag. [epub ahead of print], November 2020

NEW NCTRC About Us Resources!
If you aren’t sure who we are, and what we offer in terms of resources and technical assistance, this is the perfect opportunity to learn about us in just under 4 minutes; watch below or click the link at the end to access the full video!
National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers White Paper
Produced in collaboration with staff at Xtelligent Healthcare Media, The NCTRC is thrilled to share our new white paper on the Consortium and how we put our aim to assist our stakeholders into action!
Register now & view all recordings FOR FREE!
Did you miss our recent Virtual #LaunchTelehealth2020 conference? No Worries - you can set up a free account here or by clicking the logo above, and access recordings of all the great content on our conference app!

If you have any questions, contact Reid Plimpton at:

About the NETRC
The Northeast Telehealth Resource Center (a proud member of the National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers) aims to increase access to quality health care services for rural and medically underserved populations through Telehealth. Our service area includes New England, Northern New Jersey, and New York. Learn more at
This newsletter was made possible by grant number G22RH30352 from the Office for the Advancement of Telehealth, Health Resources and Services Administration, DHHS
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