Regional Updates from the Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers

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As we bring 2016 to a close, the TRCs are in full swing for their 2017 initiatives and it’s sure to be a big year for the telehealth industry. Here we highlight upcoming events, legislative movements and milestones. 

NORTHWEST
NRTRC’s 6th annual conference will be held in Seattle, WA April 10-12, 2017. This year’s conference theme is Next Generation Healthcare: Optimizing Your Telehealth Programs. Our conference kicks off with Telehealth 101 & 102. This four hour program gives those new to the industry a better grasp of what it takes to have a telehealth program. We’ll cover technology, operations, and telepresenting. 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. To help physicians make the transition to telehealth, technical assistance grants are available through the Wyoming Department of Health Office of Rural Health. 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 and to help reach out to those other clinics to help with initial setup and training.

Contact:  Bob Wolverton
bob@nrtrc.org

SOUTHEAST
SETRC, along with APT, sponsored the 5th Annual Alabama Telehealth Summit on August 7 in Birmingham, Alabama. The summit was our most well attended conference yet with 200 in attendance. On November 17th-18th we had The 3rd Annual Florida Telehealth summit. With Florida’s mandated statewide telehealth surveys now complete and with Florida’s telehealth policies sure to be shaped in the upcoming year, this may become a pivotal event for Florida healthcare providers. SETRC also operates The National School of Applied Telehealth (www.nationalschoolofappliedtelehealth.org)  The National School of Applied TeleHealth (NSAT) provides healthcare information and education for providers and consumers through the development of a virtual School for Applied Telehealth. NSAT has now added a certified tele-presenter stroke specialty course that is available now.

Contact: Lloyd Sirmons
lloyd.sirmons@setrc.us     

SOUTHWEST
In ShowLow, Ariz., in August, at a meeting on “Compassionate Care, Close to Home with Telemedicine,” SWTRC staff met with colleagues from the Arizona Telemedicine Program to discuss how health care is changing, and how telemedicine can improve patient care. The day also provided information on the benefits and outcomes of telemedicine across the care continuum from a large health-care system; evolving options for patient care via technology; reimbursement and regulatory hurdles; and resources for implementing telemedicine standards, guidelines and ongoing learning. In August, Kris Erps and Nancy Rowe participated in a webinar hosted by Avizia, which focused on regional telemedicine drivers and trends; innovative telehealth programs and resources; and guidance for telemedicine users. These are the kinds of outreach activities that help us meet our mission goals.

Contact: Kristine Erps
kerps@telemedicine.arizona.edu

GREAT PLAINS
One of the nation’s largest regional health plans in the Midwest has launched a multi-year program to monitor and treat their Medicare populations with heart failure, pulmonary disease (COPD), and diabetes.  This program will monitor patients in their own homes to promote patient engagement, improve patient outcomes and prevent costly and burdensome re-admissions. The remote monitoring and management of these patients is provided by AMC Health, a leading provider of virtual care solutions. AMC’s Bluetooth-enabled devices will allow patients to report their daily biometric measurements, such a weight, blood pressure, heart rate, glucose levels, and inhaled medication use. In addition, AMC Health will focus on specific gaps in care to support the health plan’s commitment to clinical quality and STAR ratings.

Contact: Zoi Hills
hills069@umm.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 who wishes to join. Recent discussions and queries have centered on billing and reimbursement issues. Louisiana has several pieces of telehealth legislation in various stages from proposed to enacted – find the latest on the texlatrc.org. Frontiers in Telemedicine, a one-of-a-kind training program for clinicians specific to telemedicine, started 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. Frontiers in Telemedicine provider training is a key feature of a Network Access Improvement Project in conjunction with area health systems and payers.

Contact: Becky Jones
becky.jones@ttuhsc.edu

NORTHEAST
The NETRC regional telehealth conference will be on May 23-24, 2017 in Amherst, MA, and will be focused on Taking Telehealth Mainstream, and the role of an integrated telehealth strategy in increasing health access and outcomes. Do you receive our monthly newsletter? With a mission to bring you everything telehealth in the Northeast, recent issues have featured: NETRC news (including exciting regional events we’re attending, like the New England Rural Health Conference), NETRC resources (such as a new, comprehensive series of fact sheets developed with the Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers for NOSORH), regional program updates, recent telehealth job postings from organizations throughout the region,  a variety of funding opportunities, and hand-picked telehealth news articles and published literature.  Visit www.netrc.org to sign up, or send us an email to share an update for our next newsletter

Contact: Andrew Solomon
asolomon@mcdph.org

MID-ATLANTIC
The newly formed Society for Excellence in Academic Research for Connected Health (SEARCH) will hold its first annual meeting in alignment with the MATRC2017 Telehealth Summit. SEARCH invites telemedicine researchers, academicians, innovators, and policymakers to join in structured and open discussions of telemedicine research structure, findings, and priorities. SEARCH seeks to both share findings and foster research partnerships among researchers and organizations that wish to define and develop the field of telemedicine research. This symposium has been added with the purpose of engaging federal policy makers from across agencies in discussion about what type of research and evidence base they most need to make sound policy decisions regarding telehealth. This event will take place April 2 – 4, 2017 in Leesburg, VA.

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

HEARTLAND
Last issue we reported Missouri’s expansion of school based telehealth policies. While schools in Missouri were already able to use telehealth, they could not receive reimbursement for the services. Under a new bill, schools will be considered a telehealth origin site by MO HealthNet, Missouri’s Medicaid administrator, enablining schools to receive reimbursement for their telehealth services. A recent ATA tele-mental health state policy report showed that the heartland states are leading the way in Tele-mental health. Just eight states received a final composite score of an “A” on the report, two of which were Missouri and Oklahoma. Forty-one states received a “B” grade, including Kansas. Just getting started in telehealth? Heartland’s eSTART Assessment provides a thorough on-site needs assessment, including a technology assessment. This package will provide you with the data you need for a competitive grant application.

Contact: Janine Gracy
jgracy@kumc.edu

SOUTH CENTRAL
SCTRC’s website LearnTelehealth.org just added a new free learning module, “Building Your Telehealth Team – An Important Component of Program Development.” Building your telehealth team is an important component of program development. It is important to know who will take responsibility for the various pieces required to build a successful program. This free course will help you define each role and corresponding responsibilities for team members at both the originating and distant sites.

Roles defined include Medical Director, Outreach Coordinator, Technology Coordinator, Clinical Director, Program Manager, Business Manager and Telemedicine Presenter. Learning to distinguish roles and responsibilities will help your program development process go more smoothly. Also, check out the SCTRC team at The Rural Health Association of Tennessee’s Annual Conference November 16th-18th. For more info visit Learntelehealth.org

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”. CALTRC continue to have award winning telehealth program development resources, visit their site to learn best practices, download their comprehensive program developer guide, browse their frequently updated California telehealth reimbursement guide and schedule an implementation workshop.

Contact: Kathy Chorba
kchorba@caltelehealth.org

PACIFIC BASIN
The Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center (PBTRC) sat down with Dr. David E. Roth, Clinical Director and Derek Vale, Health Systems Management Office Chief, of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division (CAMHD) of the State of Hawaii Department of Health (DOH). They talked about how The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division is Utilizing Telehealth to Improve Behavioral Health Care. The video interview can be found at pbtrc.org. The Center for Connected Health Policy claims Hawaii’s new law makes their telehealth policies some of the most progressive in the nation.

To view the new Act in its entirety, visit: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2016/bills/GM1328_.PDF

Contact: Deborah Birkmire-Peters
info@pbtrc.org

UPPER MIDWEST
Indiana’s first school-based telehealth clinic in Elwood started in September, 2016, under Indiana Rural Health Association (IRHA) and plans to establish clinics in six more school systems throughout the state over the next year. Upper Midwest Telehealth Resource Center (UMTRC) remains an integral partner providing technical assistance to Indiana Rural School Clinic Network (IRSCN). The network plans to expand the school-based telehealth clinic program to southern Indiana. The Southern Indiana Rural Health Clinic will cover Austin, Crothersville and Southwest Jefferson County Schools, beginning in January.

UMTRC staff will be participating in the Indiana Rural Health Association’s annual Public Policy Forum in January. For more information regarding registration and agenda for the IRHA Policy Forum go to www.indianaruralhealth.org.

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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