Save the date! Join us for the next Northeast Regional Telehealth Conference hosted by NETRC on May 23-24, 2017 at UMass Amherst. We'll be digging deep into the current issues impacting telehealth program development and expansion as we look at Taking Telehealth Mainstream. Add the conference to your calendar and stay tuned for more information.

Does May seem far away? Many exciting events happening this fall are highlighted below, including the Telemental Health Conference hosted by William James College and the New England Rural Health Conference hosted by the New England Rural Health Roundtable.

As always, don't miss this month's review of regional career opportunities, regional news, and more.


The NETRC Team
Upcoming Webinars

August 25: Lessons Learned from States Using Telehealth to Expand Access to Care
Hosted by: Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) 

Hosted by: Telehealth Resource Centers (presented by TexLa)

Upcoming Conferences

Hosted by: New York State Association for Rural Health
Location: Harbor Hotel, Clayton, NY

Hosted by: William James College
Location: Newton Marriott Hotel, Netwon, MA

September 28-30: ATA Fall Forum
Hosted by: American Telemedicine Association
Location: New Orleans Marriott

Hosted by: Partners Healthcare
Location: Boston Seaport World Trade Center

October 29-November 2: APHA Annual Meeting and Expo
Hosted by: American Public Health Association
Location: Colorado Convention Center, Denver, CO 

Hosted by: New England Rural Health Roundtable
Location: Southbridge Hotel & Conference Center, Southbridge, MA

Host by: Adirondack Health Institute and Fort Drum Regional Heath Planning Organization
Location: Crowne Plaza Resort, Lake Placid, NY

Hosted by: Xtelligent Media
Location: Hyatt Regency, Cambridge, MA

Regional Telehealth Career Opportunities

Now Hiring: Telehealth Network Director

Location: CHNCT Holding, Inc., Wallingford, CT

Learn more: Interested candidates may apply by forwarding resumes and cover letters to their website at Click on the Careers tab, then click the CHNCT Career Center tab. This will bring you the Candidate Self Service website. Follow the on-line instructions on how to register and apply.

Now Hiring: Associate Vice President of Virtual Medicine

Location: UMass Memorial Medical Center, Worcester, MA

Now Hiring: Telehealth Program Manager

Location: University of Vermont Medical Center, Burlington, VT

Content compiled by Michael Edwards, NETRC Consultant
mHealth Intelligence, August 16, 2016
A new health policy brief argues that telehealth will only grow and support the promise of value-based care if providers are reimbursed at the same rate as in-person care, highlighting the growing issue of coverage parity vs. payment parity laws. Review our  May newsletter on how this is affecting New York providers.

CMS proposes new Medicare telehealth coding rules
Lexology Health Care Law Today, August 1 2016
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued in July its proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for 2017, which specifies a few new telehealth services eligible for reimbursement and requirements for practitioners to use a new place of service code to report telehealth services.
FDA declines to scrutinize claims by "low risk" mHealth apps, devices. What's the takeaway?
MedCity News, July 29, 2016
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued final guidance on "low-risk" digital health apps and devices for general health management 18 months after it came out with draft guidance.  The document offers information on the kinds of apps and devices for which it will and won't take action.
ONC report to Congress addresses oversight of mHealth tools, HIPAA
Fierce Healthcare, July 19, 2016
The report includes a policy statement that mHealth technologies and "health social media," which either collect health information for wellness promotion or allow people share information about themselves are non-covered entities under HIPAA overview.  The report also includes outlines what factors distinguish technology concerned with health care delivery or advice and thus in need of assuring compliance with HIPAA guidelines.
Rhode Island's new law requires health plans cover telemedicine services
Health Care Law Today, July 19, 2016
Rhode Island recently became the 31st state to enact a requirement for private insurance reimbursement for telemedicine services, a law which includes provisions for store-and-forward services and use of the home as an approved "originating" site for connection to a telehealth clinician.  The author notes negative aspects in the law in its delay for taking effect until January 1, 2018 and in its ambiguity over the scope of a "telemedicine agreement" to be formed between the insurer and participating providers.  
mHealth Intelligence,  July 18, 2016
The Joint Commission is delaying its decision enabling doctors to use the mHealth platform to communicate with each other, saying it needs more time to set better standards and assure compliance with Medicare Conditions of Participation.  The commission had enacted the ban in 2011, asking healthcare providers to refrain from texting orders on patient care, treatment or services to other healthcare providers.
American Telemedicine Association delivers new state report card on telemental health
ATA News, June 30, 2015
The ATA recently released a new summary of state policies for the 50 states and grades them on prevalence of policy barriers that impede the use of telemedicine to enhance access to mental and behavioral health services.  According to specific criteria relating to regulation of the psychologist-patient encounter, informed consent, and licensure relating to out-of-state practice, few states got an "A"; all the states in the northeast got a B grade.
Boston Business Journal, June 28, 2016
Starting July 1, the state's second-largest commercial insurer will cover telehealth, offering the video chat service through California-based Doctor On Demand and from doctors in the Harvard Pilgrim network that offer telehealth.  The insurer follows in the footsteps of the state's largest insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, and of Health New England, based in Springfield.
Massachusetts drops parity from telemedicine reimbursement bill
mHealth Intelligence,  June 27, 2016
Facing stiff resistance from insurers, lawmakers recently reworked a telemedicine bill to give payers the power to negotiate telemedicine reimbursement rates or not reimburse at all.  An earlier version of House Bill 267 that established payment parity met resistance from insurance providers who felt that would undercut the goal of savings from more cost-effective delivery of services and from the state's medical society which argued that virtual visits in place of in-person visits would negatively affect the doctor-patient relationship.
Fierce Healthcare, June 17, 2016
A recent report to Congress by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) includes recommendations to expand Medicare's telehealth coverage primarily in its risk-based payment models, including Medicare Advantage, bundled pay-for-performance programs, and Accountable Care Organizations.
News on the Practice of Telemedicine

HRSA Press Release, August 11, 2016
More than $16 million has been awarded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to improve access to quality health care in rural communities, including funds that will expand use of telehealth technology for veterans and other patients, assist providers with quality improvement activities, and support policy-oriented research to better understand the challenges faced by rural communities.

Massachusetts General Hosptal found the blizzard of late 2014 a perfect test case for its then-fledgling telehealth program. "It was a great opportunity for us as a team to really shift perspective on when and where care can be delivered" says Marcy Simoni, Senior Program Manager.

Worcester Business Journal Online, July 28, 2016
Heywood Hospital and UMass Memorial Medical Center have received nearly $1 million in combined funds as part of a pilot by the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission. This funding will be used to extend behavioral health services in populations such as children or those with substance abuse disorders.

New York-Presbyterian expands its telehealth platform to providers, patients
mHealth Intelligence, July 26, 2016
The New York Presbyterian Hospital recently launched three telehealth services, focusing on second opinions, consults, and ER care, and will debut a follow-up care platform this fall.  The NYP OnDemand platform now includes a Digital Second Opinion service, Inter-Hospital Digital Consults and a Digital Emergency and Urgent Care service.
Feds provide funds to boost telemedicine in Maine
Maine Public Broadcasting Network, July 18, 2016
Out of the northeast states in the NETRC service area, MaineHealth is the only applicant awarded a telemedicine grant in the 2016 round of the Telemedicine and Distance Education program of the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service division.  The Portland-based healthcare system proposed to use the $400,000 award for telemedicine equipment for six rural medical clinics and three home health agency sites.
Telemedicine to help rural docs tackle opioid abuse
mHealth Intelligence, July 18, 2016
In a three-year, $9 million initiative the CMS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality will fund programs in Oklahoma, Colorado and Pennsylvania to use Project ECHO's hub-and-spoke platform to train rural providers and to deliver specialist consults to support the delivery of medication assisted treatment and other services for opiate addicted patients. 
University of Rochester: Telehealth has potential to transform delivery of health care
DOT Med, July 14, 2016
In a recent review article in the New England Journal of Medicine a researcher/neurologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center, Ray Dorsey, argues that the growth of telehealth over the next decade and beyond will have profound implications for health care delivery and medicine. This delivery of virtual care over a distance could help address long-standing concerns about the distribution and number of physicians and provide greater flexibility to both patients and clinicians.
Telehealth program wins national award
Hudson Valley News Network, July 11, 2016
Westchester County's Telehealth Intervention Program for Seniors (TIPS) has been selected for a 2016 National Association of Counties Achievement Award.  TIPS recently achieved a major milestone in exceeding 20,000 remote chronic disease monitoring and case management services to more than 600 seniors participating in seven sites throughout this New York county.
Teledermatology scores big with doctors and patients
mHealth Intelligence, July 05, 2016
Community health centers in eastern and central Massachusetts will soon be using a teledermatology platform from 3Derm to enhance timely diagnosis of a skin lesions and cut wait times for an appointment that often takes weeks.  Dermatologists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester recently presented results using the platform which demonstrated success rates for identification of skin cancer comparable to that for in-person visits.
Nation's first telehealth accreditation recognizes innovation, need for validation
Health IT Outcomes, June 23, 2016
URAC, an organization named for "Utilization Review Accreditation Commission", recently announced onset of operations as a resource for accreditation and oversite of telehealth programs implemented by health care organizations.  URAC's telehealth accreditation standards are designed to offer a framework for differentiating the top tier organizations in the telehealth marketplace, even as the industry evolves.
Telemedicine program will extend Parkinson's care across New York
Daily Messenger,  June 20, 2016
A new program launched by neurologists at University of Rochester Medical Center will expand access to care and serve as a national model for the management of Parkinson's disease and other chronic illnesses. The "Parkinson's Disease Care New York" program will be a largely virtual network providing free care to as many as 500 underserved patients across New York State.
PCORI approves telemedicine project
Federal Telemedicine News, June 12, 2016
The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute recently approved a $7 million research project proposed by the State University of New York to examine the effectiveness of telemedicine provided in methadone clinics versus referral to a liver specialist in treating patients infected with hepatitis C virus who also uses drugs.

Telemedicine Technology News

HIT Consultant, August 18, 2016
Salesforce has announced the addition of new telehealth  features to  Health Cloud , enabling two-way video chat that gives patients the ability to connect face-to-face with their care teams from any mobile device.

Philips launches health watch, connected scale, blood pressure monitor and Bluetooth thermometer
mobihealthnews, August 1, 2016
Philips Healthcare recently announced the availability of a suite of clinically-validated health monitoring devices, including a health watch, connected scale, blood pressure monitor and thermometer. The devices connect to a companion app designed for people who are at-risk of developing chronic conditions with an eye on helping them make healthier decisions.
Round-up: Hospital, provider-related digital health news from Q2 2016
mobihealthnews, July 22, 2016
News stories about medical system development and adoption of digital health solutions are reviewed from the Spring 2016 quarter, including examples from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York.  The author asks: "Were digital health innovators best described as a clever Trojan Horse this quarter, or as slimy snake oil salesmen? It really depends on who you ask."
Study: Vulnerable patient populations find apps close to useless
Fierce Healthcare. July 18, 2016
Low-income patients are eager to embrace mobile healthcare apps, but the majority say the tools are frustrating and nearly useless, finding data entry burdensome and gaining little use from the apps.  In a recent study from University of California San Francisco, only half of clinic patients using  health app users were able to complete data entry tasks and only 40% could access the data.
Mobile app uses analytics to predict hospital readmissions
Fierce Healthcare, June 24, 2016
Researchers at Binghamton University in New York created a mobile device app, the Post Discharge Treatment and Readmissions Predictor, which calculates a patient's probability for readmission by mining historical records and comparing those to present-day status.  Patients can use the app to correspond with or send information to their healthcare providers directly, and also can send emergency requests to providers.
Health Information Technology News

Buffalo Business First, July 28, 2016
The nonprofit New York eHealth Collaborative announced this week updated statistics for the Statewide Health Information Network for New York, which holds records for more than 40 million patients.  More than 8.8 million individuals have signed authorizations that will allow health professionals to share their medical records electronically, thus helping reduce enhancing safety of patient care and reducing duplication of tests.
Fierce Healthcare, July 18, 2016
While a majority of consumers say it's important to have online access to their health information, a new survey study finds racial and demographic differences affects who is offered such access.  While 92% of patient respondents online access to their health record important, only a third were offered that access by a healthcare provider, and only 28% attained such access through a secure website or phone app.

Recent Telehealth Resources

Agarwal AK, Gaieski DF, Perman SM, Leary M, Delfin G, Abella BS, Carr BG.  Telemedicine REsuscitation and Arrest Trial (TREAT): A feasibility study of real-time provider-to-provider telemedicine for the care of critically ill patients. Heliyon 2(4):e00099, 2016 

Ben-Zeev D, Scherer EA, Gottlieb JD, et  al.  mHealth for schizophrenia: Patient engagement with a mobile phone intervention following hospital discharge.  JMIR Ment. Health. 3(3):e34, 2016 Link

Brehm W.  Closing the telehealth gap: A survey of healthcare providers on the barriers and opportunities to emerging delivery models.  Avizia Inc., May 2016 Link (requires a free registration)

Coffman M, Moore M, Jetty A, Klink K, Bazemore A.  Who is using telehealth in primary care? Safety Net clinics and Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs).  J. Amer. Board Fam. Med. 29(4):432-433, 2016 Link

Compare Business Products, Inc.  The Ultimate Videoconferencing Buyers Guide, June 2016 Link ( requires a free registration)

Fierce Health IT.  2016 Connected patient report: Insights into patient preferences on telemedicine, wearables and post-discharge care. Salesforce Resarch Inc., 2016  Link (requires a free registration)

Frisbee KL.  Variations in the use of mHealth tools: The VA Mobile Health Study.  JMIR Mhealth Uhealth 4(3):e89, 2016 Link

Garingo A, Friedlich P, Chavez T, Tesoriero L, Patil S, Jackson P, Seri I. "Tele-rounding" with a remotely controlled mobile robot in the neonatal intensive care unit.  J. Telemed. Telecare 22(2):132-138, 2016 Link

Hubley S, Lynch SB, Schneck C, Thomas M, Shore J.  Review of key telepsychiatry outcomes.  World J. Psychiatry 6(2):269-282, 2016  Link

Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. Report to the Congress: Medicare and the Health Care Delivery System.  MedPAC, June 2016 Link

Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.  Examining oversight of the privacy & security of health data collected by entities not regulated by HIPAA.  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2016 Link

Pathipati AS, Azad TD, Jethwani K.  Telemedical education: training digital natives in telemedicine.  J. Med. Internet Res. 18(7):e193, 2016 Link

Pekmezaris R, Schwartz RM, Taylor TN, et al.  A qualitative analysis to optimize a telemonitoring intervention for heart failure patients from disparity communities.  BMC Med. Inform. Decision Making 16(1):75, 2016 Link

Richard S, Mione G, Varoqui C, et al.  Simulation training for emergency teams to manage acute ischemic stroke by telemedicine. Medicine 95(24):e3924, 2016 Link

Sauser-Zachrison K, Shen E, Sangha N, et al.  Safe and effective implementation of telestroke in a us community hospital setting.  Permanente J. 20(4):15-21, 2016 Link

Thomas L, Capistrant G.  State Telemedicine Gaps Analysis: Psychologist Clinical Practice Standards & Licensure.  American Telemedicine Association, June 2016 Link

Totten AM, Womack DM, Eden KB, et al. Telehealth: Mapping the evidence for patient outcomes from systematic reviews. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Technical Brief No. 26.; June 2016 Link