There are many exciting policy efforts to expand telehealth utilization throughout the northeast - we could write an entire white paper! For now, we've written a short post on to outline some of the activity we're watching. Several trends throughout the region include states expanding Medicaid rules, a few states hoping to improve existing parity laws, several states looking to pass laws for the first time, and growing interest in licensure compacts.

Read our new post:

In addition to all of the policy and regulatory activity, we're thrilled to see so many programs growing in all types of settings and specialties. We are particularly interested to see how telehealth continues to integrate with primary care. Today, NETRC staff will be talking with over 500 primary care providers, administrators, and others at Maine Quality Count's Learning Session, Basics to Breakthroughs in Primary Care Transformation, and at the Maine Osteopathic Association's Midwinter Symposium.

Please don't hesitate to reach out - we look forward to staying connected!


The NETRC Team

Featured Webinars

Presented By: South Central Telehealth Resource Center
Presenters: Billy Philips, Jr., PhD, MPH, Executive Vice President & Director, and Coleman Johnson, JD, Director of the Office of Contracts, Reporting, and Data Management, F. Marie Hall Institute for Rural and Community Health, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Monday, February 8, 2016, 4:00 - 5:00 pm EST 
Presented by: Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center (National Telehealth Webinar Series)
Presenter: Rob Sprang, MBA, Director, Kentucky TeleCare
Thursday, February 18, 2016, 2:00 - 3:00 pm EST

Presented by: Northeast Telehealth Resource Center  (National Telehealth Webinar Series)
Presenters: Donald M. Hilty, MD, USC Keck School of Medicine and Kaweah Delta Medical Center, and Terry Rabinowitz, MD, DDS, University of Vermont College of Medicine and University of Vermont Medical Center
Recording now available!

Rural Funding Reminders
USDA Distance Learning & Telemedicine Grant Program

Applications due March 14, 2016!

The DLT Grant Program awards $50,000 - $500,000 for rural providers to support the acquisition of telemedicine equipment and other capital assets (salaries and administrative expenses are not eligible). Click here to learn more about the DLT progam and/or sign up for USDA's February 18th webinar.

Content compiled by Michael Edwards, NETRC Consultant
Telehealth Policy News

American Telemedicine Association News, January 20, 2016
Lawmakers have introduced several new bills in New York to enhance telehealth coverage under numerous insurance plans, while Vermont has introduced a bill to update their telehealth parity law.

Politico, January 11, 2016
Humana has added telemedicine reimbursement coverage to its Medicare Advantage plans for 2016 in 12 states. This follows a trend of telehealth expansion in policies of other health insurance providers.
mHealth Intelligence,  January 11, 2016
The American Telemedicine Association recently submitted a request to CMS for telemedicine service reimbursement under 35 CPT codes, including treatment in areas of rehabilitation, speech-language pathology, physical therapy, home dialysis, critical care services, and behavioral health.

More than 200 telemedicine laws introduced last year
Health Outcomes, January 6, 2016
The article profiles a recent report from the National Conference of State Legislatures which explores the benefits and risks of telehealth for state legislatures and provides an overview of the status of reimbursement for telemedicine in various states.
National Law Review, January 5, 2016
In December the United States Senate Committee on Finance released a Bipartisan Chronic Care Working Group Policy Options Document which outlines approaches under consideration to improve the care and treatment of Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic diseases. In doing so, the policy document addresses the question of which telehealth strategies can help to improve quality, reduce costs and increase care coordination for beneficiaries with chronic conditions.
Fierce Health Payer, December 28, 2015
Telemedicine has gained momentum with large insurers as they better understand how to use the new services, but it's also being promoted by smaller insurers, including the New York-based insurance startup Oscar Health.  This profile describes how Oscar works with Teladoc to offer primary care telehealth services via web or mobile device apps for its 100,000 members in New York.
News on the Practice of Telemedicine

Business Journal News Network, February 1, 2016
Price Chopper recently announced that it would pilot a live, telemedicine service at its Fulton grocery store, in addition to three other stores across New York state and one in Vermont.

MobiHealthNews, January 28, 2016
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center will soon become the latest hospital to incorporate health monitoring via connected devices and Apple's HealthKit infrastructure. BIDMC @ Home will roll out to its first cohort of patients in the spring.

Watertown Daily Times, January 11, 2016
This story highlights progress Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization in its grant-funded program to develop delivery of telepsychiatry services to rural community hospitals, health centers, and a nursing home networked to St. Joseph's Hospital in Syracuse. Last year, more than 300 telepsychiatry appointments were provided in Lewis and Jefferson Counties and the Finger Lakes region, and expansion into Madison County is planned.
FierceHealthIT, January 11, 2016
Researchers from medical schools of the University of Rochester and the University of Wisconsin recently published a study reporting that the application of telemedicine services for residents for senior living centers was associated with a significant reduction in ED visits.
FierceHealthIT, December 28, 2015
A model for delivery of pediatric telehealth services for children in daycare, elementary schools and neighborhood after-hours sites was effective in establishing diagnoses and ruling out more serious conditions according to recent study from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Case Western Reserve University.
Boston Globe, December 27, 2015
The Island Health Service of the Maine Seacoast Mission has for 14 years been facilitating the delivery of telehealth services for the resident of five islands off the mid-coast region of the state. A nurse on the Mission's boat Sunbeam sees patients on scheduled visits and arranges for videoconferenced sessions for interviews and remote exams by primary care and behavioral health providers on the mainland.
Niagara-Wheatfield Tribune, December 15, 2015
The University at Buffalo School of Nursing recently received a grant to train nursing students in telehealth using GlobalMed Transportable Exam Systems, a mobile telehealth technology that can be used to check blood pressure, help diagnose illnesses, prescribe medications and more. 
Hartford Business, December 14, 2015
Organizations already pursuing telehealth are reported as potential leaders under the new policy environment set by a new Connecticut state law mandating private insurance reimbursement for telemedicine services starting January 1. Active programs highlighted include a Yale telephyschiatry initiative, the health plan ProHealth's adoption of home e-visits with primary care providers, and Community Health Center's telehealth program for pain management, and certain home healthcare providers.

Telemedicine Technology News

American Telemedicine Association News, January 14, 2016
Recently, ATA launched its new and improvedResource Center and Buyer's Guide, a comprehensive, nationwide searchable database of vendors and service providers that supply the products and services to telemedicine, mhealth and digital health professionals.
FierceHealthIT, January 11, 2016
Wearable technology such as FitBit and Apple Watch can improve members' personal health, encourage physical activity and lessen the cost of health insurance, according to chief of product innovation for HumanaVitality, an entity set up by the insurer Humana to offer its 4 million members wellness programs.  Humana uses rewards to encourage participation in over 30 wellness activities that can be monitored by health tech devices.
MobiHealth News, January 8, 2016
This article provides a roundup summary of advances in digital health on display at the recent Consumer Electronics Show.
Mobihealth News, January 5, 2016
The story provides an illustrated introduction to eight industry trends in digital healthcare services for mobile devices, including applications for: medication adherence, conversational interfaces, health analytics for patients and clinicians, disease detection, health care planning, computable EMR records, patient engagement for self care, and virtual helper/companions.
FierceBiotechIT, January 2, 2016
Samsung has unveiled a processor it hopes will become the cornerstone of the next-generation of wearable devices. The chip is designed to gather and process data on body fat, skeletal muscle mass, heart rate and rhythm, skin temperature and stress, setting it up to power devices with capabilities beyond those of the current generation of wearables.
mHealth Intelligence, December 29, 2015
A New Jersey program that uses a smartphone app to dispatch volunteer first responders, United Rescue, is credited with saving its first life. The program uses trained volunteers to use their mobile device to connect with EMTs and thereby help bridge the gap between the initial 911 call and the arrival of an ambulance.

Health Information Technology News

iHealthBeat, January 20, 2016
The Acting CMS Administrator and the National Coordinator for Health IT recently clarified on the CMS blog plans for the upcoming changes for slowly phasing out the current meaningful use incentive program and replacing with initiatives supporting compliance with the Medicare Access and Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (MACRA). In addition to a Merit-based Incentive Payment System and Alternative Payment Models the replacement plan will focus on rewarding providers for patient outcomes, rather than adopting technology.
FierceMobileHealthcare, January 10, 2016
According to a report by security vendor Arxan, 84% of FDA -approved mobile health apps did not adequately address at least two of the Open Web Application Security Project's mobile top 10 risks. Such risks can lead to privacy violations, theft of personal health data and tampering with data.
FierceHealthIT, December 18, 2015
More reviews are needed on benefits and impacts of health information exchange according to a recent review.  A coalition of researchers concluded that clinical outcomes and potential harms from clinical information sharing have not been rigorously studied.
Recent Telehealth Resources

Ali EE, Chew L, Yap KY.  Evolution and current status of mHealth research: a systematic review.  BMJ Innovations [epub before print], Jan 2016 htm

AMA Advocacy Resource Center.  AMA telemedicine policy.  American Medical Association, 2015 pdf (requires free registration)

Bakitas MA, Elk R, Astin M, Ceronsky L, Clifford KN, Dionne-Odom JN, Emanuel LL, Fink RM, Kvale E, Levkoff S, Ritchie C, Smith T.  Systematic review of palliative care in the rural setting.  Cancer Control 22(4):450-464, 2015  pdf

Balon R, Beresin EV, Coverdale JH, Louie AK, Roberts LW.  Strengthening telepsychiatry's role in clinical care and education.  Acad. Psychiatry 39(1):6-9, 2015 htm

Bossen AL, Kim H, Williams KN, Steinhoff AE, Strieker M.  Emerging roles for telemedicine and smart technologies in dementia care.  Smart Homecare Technol. Telehealth 3:49-57, 2015  htm

Campbell R, O'Gorman J, Cernovsky ZZ.  Reactions of psychiatric patients to telepsychiatry.  Ment. Illness 7(2):6101, 2015 htm

Center for Connected Health Policy.  Roundup of 2015 approved state telehealth legislation.  Public Health Institute Center, CCHP, Jan. 2015 pdf

Chakrabarti S.  Usefulness of telepsychiatry: A critical evaluation of videoconferencing-based approaches.  World J. Psychiatry 5(3):286-304, 2015 htm

Chen A, Hollander J, Doarn CR. Telemedicine: Point/counterpoint--The future of healthcare or the end of personal medicine?  Healthcare Transformation 1(1): 32-43, 2015 htm

Kelly JT, Reidlinger DP, Hoffmann TC, Campbell KL. Telehealth methods to deliver multifactorial dietary interventions in adults with chronic disease: A systematic review protocol.  Syst. Rev. 4(1):185, 2015  Link

Kidholm K, Rasmussen MK, Andreasen JJ, Hansen J, Nielsen G, Spindler H, Dinesen B.  Cost-utility analysis of a cardiac telerehabilitation program: the teledialog project.  Telemed. eHealth 22(7): 1-11, 2015  Link

Kleinpell R, Barden C, Rincon T, McCarthy M, Zapatochny Rufo RJ.  Assessing the impact of telemedicine on nursing care in intensive care units.  Amer. J. Crit. Care 25(1):e14-20, 2016 Link

Lee Y, Shin SY, Kim JY, et al.   Evaluation of mobile health applications developed by a tertiary hospital as a tool for quality improvement breakthrough.  Healthcare Inform. Res. 21(4):299-306, 2015  Link

NCSL Partnership Project on Telehealth.  Telehealth policy trends and consideration.  National Conference of State Legislatures, 2015 htm

Neufeld JD, Doarn CR.  Telemedicine spending by Medicare: A snapshot from 2012.  Telemed. eHealth. 21(8):686-693, 2015 htm

Samson M, Trivedi T, Heidari K.  Telestroke centers as an option for addressing geographical disparities in access to stroke care in South Carolina, 2013.  Prev. Chronic Dis. 12:E227, 2015 htm

Sanders KA, Patel R, Kiely JM, Gwynn MW, Johnston LH.  Improving telestroke treatment times in an expanding network of hospitals.  J. Stroke Cerebrovasc. Dis. [epub ahead of print] 2015 htm

Thomas L, Capistrant G. State Telemedicine Gaps Analysis: Physician Practice Standards & Licensure. American Telemedicine Association, January 2016 htm

Townley C, Yalowich R.  Improving behavioral health access and integration using telehealth and teleconsultation: a health care system for the 21st century.  National Academy for State Health Policy, Nov. 2015 pdf

Ward MM, Jaana M, Natafgi N.  Systematic review of telemedicine applications in emergency rooms.  Int. J. Med. Inform. 84(9):601-616, 2015 htm