Regional Updates from the Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers

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Sure signs of progress could be seen at the three 2016 TRC event stops on our first national tour. The CTN’s Summit in San Diego, the SWTRC’s provider showcase in Phoenix, and SCTRC’s Nashville forum all just about doubled in attendance this year. These organizations continue to be at the forefront of telehealth awareness, creating hubs for dialogue on change. Look for video interviews from these shows on our website, www.telemedmag.com. Keep up the good work, TRCs!  

NORTHWEST
NRTRC’s sixth annual conference will be held in Seattle, WA, April 10-12, 2017. This conference always kicks off with Telehealth 101 & 102, a 4-hour introduction to the industry. Our 102 session will cover all regulatory and legislative topics both from a national standpoint and also for each of our seven states in the Northwest. The main conference kicks off Monday afternoon with our first general session, breakout sessions, and an amazing networking reception. Earlybird Registration begins September 4th 2016. To help physicians make the transition to telehealth, technical assistance grants are available through the Wyoming Department of Health Office of Rural Health. An application is available on the Telehealth Consortium’s webpage at uwyo.edu/wind/wytn. When the application is filled out the staff at WIND reaches out to the provider to help identify which other clinics or hospitals they need to be linked to.

Contact:  Bob Wolverton
bob@nrtrc.org

SOUTHEAST
The Southeastern Telehealth Resource Center hosted their 5th Annual Alabama Telehealth Summit on August 11. The event was held at the UAB Hill Student Center on the University of Alabama Birmingham Campus in downtown Birmingham. It was a spectacular event with a great slate of speakers and over 200 in attendance. Their next event will be the 3rd Annual Florida Telehealth Summit. This year’s event
will be held November 17-18 at the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa in Safety Harbor FL. The statewide telehealth workgroups continue to be a catalyst in the advancement of telehealth across each state. Florida’s State Telehealth Advisory Council has been appointed with mandated surveys for licensed Florida practitioners and facilities now officially released. If you are interested in becoming a part of one of these workgroups, please feel free to reach out to SETRC director lloyd Sirmons.

Contact: Lloyd Sirmons
lloyd.sirmons@setrc.us

SOUTHWEST
The 2nd Telemedicine & Telehealth Service Provider Showcase in June in Phoenix was a smash hit, with nearly 400 attendees. SWTRC expects SPS to continue to grow each year. Another national resource and a corollary to SPS is the SWTRC online Telemedicine & Telehealth Service Provider Directory. The directory has reached 100 listings of clinical service providers offering services via telehealth technology. SWTRC is continuing its collaborative tradition with educational events including telegenetics trainings in Tucson, AZ, and Kent, WA, in August in partnership with the Western States Genetic Services Collaborative; a full-day, ATA-accredited training course with three northern Arizona partners in Flagstaff, AZ, Oct. 7; and webinars in partnership with the Western States Regional Public Health Training Center, the Arizona Center for Rural Health, and the ATA Technology Special Interest Group.

Contact: Kristine Erps
kerps@telemedicine.arizona.edu

TEXLA
The TexLa Telehealth Resource Center received notice of continued funding for FY2017. TexLa holds a quarterly Stakeholder Meeting to provide an open forum for anyone that wishes to join. Recent discussions and queries have centered on billing and reimbursement issues. The 2016 Rural Health at the Crossroads Conference was held June 20 – 21, 2016 at the Overton Hotel and Conference Center in Lubbock, Texas. In collaboration with AHEC, a telehealth track and community health worker track were offered.
Frontiers in Telemedicine, a one-of-a-kind training program for clinicians specific to telemedicine, started training January 2016 and has enrolled over 130 clinicians. The program focuses on competency-based learning and features a combination of online content and hands-on simulated learning. Visit the TexLa website, www.texlatrc.org, Facebook, Linked In or contact us via email.

Contact: Becky Jones
becky.jones@ttuhsc.edu

NORTHEAST
CT: A June 2016 law now requires CT Medicaid to cover telehealth services.
ME: Medicaid adopted a telemedicine rule in April 2016 that removes prior-approval requirements.
MA: The MA tMED Coalition continues to bring together stakeholders in efforts to pass a telehealth parity law.
NH: A March 2016 law added NH to the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, but we still await an updated Medicaid policy required by a 2015 law.
NJ: Limited reimbursement policies remain despite efforts to pass legislation this year, but interest continues is growing rapidly
NY: The Office of Mental Health adopted new regulations governing telepsychiatry in August 2016, while NYS Medicaid works to finalize new reimbursement rules.
RI: Parity legislation was finally passed in June 2016 (requiring private payers to cover telemedicine), but limited Medicaid reimbursement policies remain.

Contact: Andrew Solomon
asolomon@mcdph.org

MID-ATLANTIC
If you were not one of the 358 attendees and 40 exhibitors at the MATRC 2016 Telehealth Summit in April 2016, access to screencasts of plenary sessions and handouts may be found at http://eventmobi.com/matrc2016. Planning for the MATRC 2017 Telehealth Summit is underway with a focus on Clinical Quality and Innovation in Telehealth. If you would like to serve on a Planning Committee or would like to recommend a speaker, contact Kathy Wibberly. There are tentative plans to add a Telehealth Research Symposium to the Summit, to engage federal policy makers from across agencies in discussion about what type of research they most need to make sound telehealth decisions. If you are a researcher, stay tuned; exact dates and deadlines coming soon. To get our announcements, make sure you are either subscribed to the e-newsletter, have liked us on Facebook, or are following us on Twitter (@katwibb).

Contact: Kathy Wibberly
khw2k@hscmail.mcc.virginia.edu

HEARTLAND
Over the past couple years, Missouri has made big strides toward embracing the benefits of telehealth. Legislators have passed bipartisan bills in support of expanding telehealth access, and Missouri became one of the first states to receive state funding for Project ECHO. However, up until recently, schools have struggled to fully implement telemedicine due to restrictions in how telehealth is defined in the state. Thanks to policy champions and new legislation, that is about to change. By allowing telehealth reimbursement in Missouri schools, students will be able to access specialists without having to leave school. This will improve diagnoses and treatment, as well as reduce the number of absences due to chronic diseases and other health conditions. SB 579 is expected to go into effect on August 28th. Once in effect, any Missouri school will be able to implement telemedicine and enjoy the benefits the service provides.

Contact: Janine Gracy
jgracy@kumc.edu

SOUTH CENTRAL
The SCTRC hosted the 4th annual South Central Telehealth Forum on August 1-2 in Nashville. Presenters and partners from across the country spent two days sharing tools, resources and techniques on how they drive quality health care via telemedicine and mHealth. Mario Gutierrez, Executive Director, CCHP, discussed telehealth across the nation. Alan Morgan, Chief Executive Officer, NRHA, discussed telehealth in rural areas. Awards recognizing individuals who have made telehealth a focus in their communities were presented to Terry Eagleton (TN), Chip Templeton (MS) and Terri Imus (AR). Highlights were shown from a new SCTRC documentary, ‘Underserved – Telehealth in America.’ The film shows how telehealth has the potential to change the lives of patients, caregivers and health care professionals. The event saw a record number of participants for the SCTRC.

Contact: Wendy Ross
wross2@uams.edu

CALIFORNIA
California Telehealth Network (CTN), the State’s partnership for telehealth, announced it has received a USDA Rural Development Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant award for $405,917. This grant will support the second phase of infrastructure enhancements to the CTN broadband network and videoconferencing service to ensure CTN can continue to provide state of the art service, speed and quality to partner healthcare providers. CTN also announced the selection of TeleConnect Therapies, a tele-mental health partnership serving rural health facilities throughout California, as a “Telemedicine Specialty Care Partner”.

Contact: Kathy Chorba
kchorba@caltelehealth.org

PACIFIC BASIN
On July 7, 2016, Hawaii Governor David Ige signed into law Senate Bill 2395: Relating to Telehealth as Act 226 (16). This Act requires the state’s Medicaid managed care and fee-for-service programs to cover services provided through telehealth. It specifies that any telehealth services provided shall be consistent with all federal and state privacy, security, and confidentiality laws. It clarifies liability insurance requirements as well as reimbursement questions.  The Act requires written disclosure of coverages and benefits associated with telehealth services and ensures that telehealth encompasses store and forward technologies, remote monitoring, live consultation, and mobile health. To view the Act in its entirety, go to http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2016/bills/GM1328_.PDF

Contact: Deborah Birkmire-Peters
info@pbtrc.org

UPPER MIDWEST
At its Educational Conference and Annual Meeting on August 11 in Effingham, the Illinois Rural Health Association presented its “2016 Rural Health Award of Merit” to the Illinois Telehealth Network (ITN), a network of 23 hospital members honored with this award. In July, Indiana scored a major win on the telemedicine legislative front. A new telemedicine state statute went into effect which expands the use of telemedicine together with certain prescribing rights (without an in-person office visit).

Contact: Becky Sanders
bsanders@indianarha.org

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Contributing Editor / TRC Liaison
The founder of IMST Innovations, Aneel is a certified telehealth coordinator who works with organizations to develop sustainable telemedicine solutions. He is Telemedicine Magazine's liaison to The National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers.

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