August 2017

Emily Phillips (CHC of Cape Cod), Andrew Solomon (NETRC), and Sirene Garcia (Finger Lakes Community Health) at the mHealth + Telehealth World Congress

We hope you've had a wonderful summer so far! Following our Regional Conference in May, NETRC has been busy connecting with many stakeh olders across the region as organizations continue to explore  a variety of exciting telehealth initiatives.  Last week, Andrew Solomon, NETRC Project Manager, moderated a panel discussion on strategies to overcome operational challenges associated with telehealth at the 9th Annual mHealth + Telehealth World Congress in Boston. Notable themes throughout the conference included cybersecurity, provider and patient engagement, and interoperability. 

Earlier this week, NETRC officially launched the virtual  Northeast Telehealth Leadership Forum to facilitate an ongoing conversation on telehealth best practices across the region.  Register here to join an innovative leadership community on the FIRST Wednesday of every month as we work together to identify practical opportunities to foster telehealth integration. Our next meeting on September 6 will feature a telehealth policy discussion with the Center for Connected Health Policy (CCHP).

It is no surprise that telehealth policy continues to evolve across the region. New Jersey officially enacted a telehealth coverage parity law when Governor Chris Christie signed  S291  in July. As highlighted in our last newsletter,  Vermont also recently updated their telehealth law, expanding coverage regardless of whether the patient is in a health care facility, at home, at work, or anywhere else. In  Maine, LD 949 and LD 1485 were proposed to refine coverage requirements for private payers and Medicaid, respectively, but both bills were vetoed by Governor Paul Lepage on August 1. The veto of LD 1485 was overridden by the legislature on August 3, while the veto of LD 949 was sustained. In his veto message for LD 949, Governor Lepage stated "It is impossible to truly determine the extent of additional costs that coverage of these services might create, but those increased costs will result in increased premiums for already an overburdened healthcare system." On this note, a number of resources are available to help assess the cost benefits of telehealh programs and policies, such as CCHP's Cost Effectiveness Research Catalogue and NETRC's Telehealth Cost Benefits and Major Clinic Outcomes Webliography.

Of the eight states in our region  (New England, Northern New Jersey, and New York),  Massachusetts  now stands as the only state  without a telehealth coverage parity law. However, there are a number of bills pending, including Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association's priority legislation HB578.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or requests for resources.


The NETRC Team
Join the Virtual Conversation!


You're invited! The Northeast Telehealth Resource Center has established the Northeast Telehealth Leadership Forum to foster collaborative problem solving and networking across the region. Join us for virtual meetings at  2:00pm ET on the FIRST Wednesday of every month!

Learn More and Register Today: 

CMS Proposes Additional CPT Codes for Medicare Telehealth

As reported by the Center for Connected Health Policy (CCHP), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) has released their proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) for CY 2018. Proposed changes include the addition of several new telehealth-eligible CPT codes:
  • G0296: Counseling visit to discuss need for lung cancer screening using low dose CT scan
  • 90839 and 90840: Psychotherapy for crisis; first 60 minutes and each additional 30 minutes
  • 90785: Interactive complexity (add-on code)
  • 96160 and 96161: Administration of patient (or caregiver) focused health risk assessment instrument with scoring and documentation (add-on code)
  • G0506: Comprehensive assessment of and care planning for patient requiring chronic care management services (add-on code)
The add-on codes would not be considered eligible for telehealth reimbursement unless billed in conjunction with another base code that is also on the list of telehealth eligible CPT codes.

The CY 2018 PFS also proposes to eliminate the GT modifier since it is duplicative of the telehealth POS code (02) implemented in CY 2017. Notably, they did not adopt the American Medical Association telehealth modifier 95.

For more information, including proposed changes for chronic care management and additional requests for information, review CCHP's summary factsheet.

Fall Conference Calendar

Sept. 12-16
San Antonio, TX
Sept. 14-15
New Paltz, NY
Sept. 26
Portland, ME
Oct. 2-3
Phoenix, AZ
ATA's Fall Forum
Oct. 2-4, 2017
Washington, DC
SEARCH: Telehealth
Research Symposium

Oct. 5-6
Philadelphia, PA
Connected Health Conference
Oct. 25-27
Boston, MA
North Country (NY) Telemedicine Conference
Nov. 2
Lake Placid, NY
New England Rural
Health Conference

Nov. 15-16
Bartlett, NH
Value-Based Care

Nov. 16-17
Boston, MA
CTeL Executive Telehealth Fall Summit
Nov. 30 - Dec. 1
Washington, DC

Stay updated at:

Upcoming Webinars

Use of Telepsychiatry to Improve Access to Care for Rural Populations

Monday, August 7, 2017 at 2:00pm EDT

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) is partnering with HRSA to host a webinar on telepsychiatry. Telepsychiatry can help states address the shortage of psychiatrists, access challenges for rural populations and may enhance primary care and behavioral health integration. The webinar will provide an overview of best practices for telepsychiatry and also highlight two state programs in North Carolina and Washington. 

Remote Patient Monitoring: A Toolkit for Success

Thursday, August 17, 2017 at 2:00pm EDT

Many health care organizations have considered instituting a Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) program, but have run into challenges in implementation of this new discipline. This webinar will offer insights into the value of RPM and debut a toolkit developed by the Mid-Atlantic and Northwest Telehealth Resource Centers to help organizations implement a program.

Improving License Portability through Interstate Licensure Compacts

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 at 2:00pm EDT

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) is partnering with HRSA to host a webinar on August 23, 2017 from 2:30-4:00 pm ET to share information on interstate licensure compacts as a method for increasing access to care. The webinar will feature presentations on the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact and the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact. Speakers include representatives from the HRSA Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, Office for the Advancement of Telehealth, Federation of State Medical Boards, and the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards.

HRSA Funding Opportunities

Telehealth Center of Excellence  -  Due August 21.  FORHP's Office for the Advancement of Telehealth (OAT) will make one award for $1,000,000 for a Telehealth Center of Excellence (COE).  The Telehealth COE will examine the efficacy of telehealth services in rural and urban areas and will serve as a national clearinghouse for telehealth research and resources, including technical assistance.  Applicants must be public academic medical centers located in states with high chronic disease prevalence, high poverty rates, and a large percentage of medically underserved areas.

Telehealth Network Grant for Substance Abuse - Due August 23.   Established telehealth programs and networks can apply for $250,000 per year for a three-year program to improve access to health care services, particularly for substance abuse in rural, frontier and underserved communities.  Existing telehealth networks in counties with high rates of poverty and unemployment are encouraged to apply to expand and improve training of health care providers and quality of services.

Rural Health Care Services Outreach Program  - Forecasted to be posted September 1. FORHP's Outreach Program is a community-based program targeted to improve outreach and service delivery in local and regional rural communities.  The goals for the Outreach Program are the following: 1.Expand the delivery of health care services to include new and enhanced services exclusively in rural communities 2.Deliver health care services through a strong consortium, in which every consortium member organization is actively involved and engaged in the planning and delivery of services 3.Utilize and/or adapt an evidence-based or promising practice model(s) in the delivery of health care services 4.Improve population health, demonstrate health outcomes and sustainability.

Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant - Forecasted to be posted November 2. The purpose of the Network Planning program is to assist in the development of an integrated health care network, specifically for entities that do not have a history of formal collaborative efforts.  Health care networks can be an effective strategy to help smaller rural health care providers and health care service organizations align resources and strategies, achieve economies of scale and efficiency, and address challenges more effectively as a group than as single providers.  The Network Planning program promotes the planning and development of healthcare networks in order to: (i) achieve efficiencies; (ii) expand access to, coordinate, and improve the quality of essential health care services; and (iii) strengthen the rural health care system as a whole.

CTeL Telehealth Reimbursement Coalition

The Center for Telehealth & e-Health Law (CTeL) is bringing together experts from across the country to  collect data and research on the cost impact of telehealth.  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the nonpartisan entity that assesses the potential fiscal impact of proposed legislation, needs access to quality data that shows telehealth as either generating cost savings or being cost neutral to the federal budget.   

CTeL's  newly established Telehealth Reimbursement Coalition needs your help!  Click here to learn more and get involved. Click here  for additional insights from InsideHealthPolicy.

Interested in reviewing pending federal legislation? Click here for bill analyses from the Center for Connected Health Policy.

Select Telehealth News

The White House, August 3, 2017
President Trump and VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin announced three initiatives that will expand access to health care for Veterans using telehealth technology and mobile applications...

mHealth Intelligence, August 2, 2017
New Jersey and Minnesota now have telemedicine laws on the books, adding to the ranks of states clearly defining what can and can't be called telehealth and telemedicine...

Lexology, July 31, 2017
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently announced a new project to review Medicare payments for telehealth services...

STAT, July 19, 2017
School-based telemedicine is increasingly helping nurses do their jobs, including a program in Rochester, NY...

Pioneer Institute, July 19, 2017
Massachusetts should more aggressively embrace telemedicine according to a new study published by the Pioneer Institute...

Wicked Local Melrose, July 17, 2017
Massachusetts State Senator Jason Lewis outlines the benefits of telemedicine in support of his bill, An Act Advancing and Expanding Assess to Telemedicine Services...

Federal Telemedicine News, July 16, 2017
In Connecticut, Beacon Health Options is helping to manage behavioral health services provided under the Connecticut State Medicaid program, including through a TeleECHO program...
NEJM Catalyst, July 10, 2017
NewYork-Presbyterian shares lessons learned while launching NYP OnDemand...

Federation of State Medical Boards, June 28, 2017
Maine recently became the 22nd state to join the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact...

The Daily Star, June 23, 2017
A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital in Oneonta, NY recently treated its first patients using telemedicine...

Recently Published Telehealth Literature

Anderson K, Francis T, Ibanez-Carrasco F, Globerman J.  Physician's perceptions of telemedicine in HIV care provision: a cross-sectional web-based survey.  JMIR Public Health Surveill. 3(2):e31, 2017 Link
Beste LA, Glorioso TJ, Ho PM, et al.  Telemedicine specialty support promotes hepatitis C treatment by primary care providers in the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Amer. J. Med. 130(4):432-438, 2017 Link
Ericsson ConsumerLab.  From healthcare to homecare: The critical role of 5G in healthcare transformation.  Ericsson Consumer and Industry Insight Report, June, 2017 Link
Gillespie SM, Shah MN, Wasserman EB, et al.  Reducing emergency department utilization through engagement in telemedicine by senior living communities. Telemed. eHealth 22(6):489-496, 2016 Link
Greenhalgh T, A'Court C, Shaw S.  Understanding heart failure; explaining telehealth - a hermeneutic systematic review.  BMC Cardiovasc. Disord. 17(1):156, 2017 Link
Guerrero APS, Takesue CL, Medeiros JHN, et al.  Primary care integration of psychiatric and behavioral health services: a primer for providers and case report of local implementation.  Hawaii J. Med. Public Health 76(6): 147-151, 2017 Link
Hoek PD, Schers HJ, Bronkhorst EM, Vissers KCP, Hasselaar JGJ.  The effect of weekly specialist palliative care teleconsultations in patients with advanced cancer -a randomized clinical trial.  BMC Med. 15(1):119, 2017 Link
Jin K, Lu H, Su Z, Cheng C, Ye J, Qian D.  Telemedicine screening of retinal diseases with a handheld portable non-mydriatic fundus camera.  BMC Ophthalmol. 17(1):89, 2017 Link
Kitsiou S, Paré G, Jaana M, Gerber B. Effectiveness of mHealth interventions for patients with diabetes: an overview of systematic reviews. PLOS One 12(3):e0173160, 2017 Link
Kubendran S, Sivamurthy S, Schaefer GB, et al.  A novel approach in pediatric telegenetic services: geneticist, pediatrician and genetic counselor team.  Genet. Med. [epub ahead of print] May, 2017 Link
McGrail KM, Ahuja MA, Leaver CA.  Virtual visits and patient-centered care: results of a patient survey and observational study.  J. Med. .Internet Res. 19(5):e177, 2017 Link
Nelson EL, Patton S.  Using videoconferencing to deliver individual therapy and pediatric psychology interventions with children and adolescents.  J. Child Adolesc. Psychopharmacol. 26(3):212-220, 2016 Link
Pennell NA, Dicker AP, Tran C, Jim HSL, Schwartz DL, Stepanski EJ.  mHealth: mobile technologies to virtually bring the patient into an oncology practice.  Amer. Soc. Clin. Oncol. Educ. Book 37:144-154, 2017  Link
Rutledge CM, Kott K, Schweickert PA, Poston R, Fowler C, Haney TS.  Telehealth and eHealth in nurse practitioner training: current perspectives.   Adv. Med. Educ. Practice 8 399-409, 2017 Link
Simacek J, Dimian AF, McComas JJ.  Communication intervention for young children with severe neurodevelopmental disabilities via telehealth.  J. Autism Dev. Disord. 47(3):744-767, 2017 Link
Stephan S, Lever N, Bernstein L, Edwards S, Pruitt D.  Telemental health in schools. J. Child Adolesc. Psychopharmacol. 26(3):266-272, 2016 Link
Vegesna A, Tran M, Angelaccio M, Arcona S.  Remote patient monitoring via non-invasive digital technologies: A systematic review.  Telemed. e-Health 23(1): 3-17, 2017 Link