Monthly Archives: November 2017

Telehealth Bill 2017

Around 80% of older Americans are suffering from at least one chronic condition and more than 3/4th are suffering from at least two. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) said, “Today is a big day in the ongoing effort to update and strengthen Medicare’s guarantee to seniors.”

The scope of telehealth has a variety of technologies and strategies to deliver virtual medical, health-related information and education services. The federal Health Resources and Services Administration defines telehealth as “the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support and promote long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health, and health administration.”  This new bill will boost telehealth coverage in Medicare Advantage plans. Congressional budget office mentioned that over the next decade the healthcare expenditure will reduce by $80 million.

During May 2015, the Finance Committee formed the bipartisan Chronic Care working group which was led by Warner and Isakson. They developed a policy idea to address Medicare spending on treating multiple chronic conditions. The last Congress introduced the CHRONIC care act and again reintroduced by Senate Warner and Senate Johnny Isakson, along with the Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR). In May, the bill passed unanimously out of the Senate Finance Committee.

The standard for the federal government’s approach is set greatly towards telehealth reimbursement and the geographic location where the services can take place and the reimbursement process has its own restrictions (providing partial or no reimbursement) which were maintained by Medicare.

For elderly and disabled, Medicare program was introduced by federally administered insurance and to also help low-income individuals of every age, Medicaid was introduced by the federal state assistance program. This program’s coverage policies vary from state to state and even the telehealth reimbursement policy, related policies and guidelines associated vary considerably from state to state, says a report (CCHPCA). People with low income can be benefited with these plans and it offers a better health care coverage than the separate Part D plan and original Medicare. Mostly, dual eligible citizens are elderly and have low income and they need a higher cost of care. For the benefit of dual-eligible patients, the center of technology and aging released a note on incorporating telehealth-based care management solutions which has a better strategy to help them.

CBO (Congressional Budget Office) – The telehealth advocates are welcoming the CBO’s cost estimate (H.R. 3727) because of the cut in the Medicare’s coverage and reimbursement restrictions and also now there will be a more accepted standard of telehealth and telemedicine.

Telestroke medicare reimbursement will increase its spending by $180 million over the next ten years. Adding telehealth to ACOs will cost between $50 to $100 million which gives the ACOs more flexibility to use the recent technology.

For the chronically ill enroll, telehealth has been added to the Medicare Advantage plans for about $90 million, predicted by the CBO and over the next decade, $123 million will be added for providing access to the MA special plans for the vulnerable populations.

Without opposition – Chronic Care Act passed by Senate Finance Committee:

The Chronic care Act (Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic) was passed recently in the US Senate unanimously. S.870 (bill) was passed which includes a number of provisions that would give more scope on Medicare coverage and give more accessibility in using telemedicine.

Chronic care act benefits:

  1. Accountable care organizations would be able to aid in telemedicine for all Medicare beneficiaries and services at home without minding the full financial risks.
  2. 19 million people in these plans would be delighted since they have more flexibility for medicare advantage plans to use telehealth.
  3. 45 million beneficiaries/patients in metro areas will get coverage for remote diagnosis of a suspected stroke. For now, the coverage is restricted to rural areas.
  4. Doctors can visit the patient through the video to assist them with kidney dialysis and this includes all Medicare dialysis patients.
  5. Until September 30, 2019, the demonstration expiration bill is extended and now the total number of beneficiaries for participating has increased from 10k to 15k which allows them to give practices for three years to receive shared saving payment.
  6. For now, the practices  are to be closed if in case they were unable to receive such an incentive payment in two years (consecutively)

For certain primary care services, ACOs will be allowed to provide incentive payments to the beneficiaries. There will be more options available for the pioneer ACOs, MSSP Tracks 2 and 3 ACOs for services in telehealth.

The new bill would allow MA plans to include more telehealth options, expand telestroke care, telemedicine for dialysis care. Adding more, Dialysis patients could conduct e-visits from home instead of an in-person appointment.

“This legislation will improve disease management, lower Medicare costs and streamline care coordination services – all without adding to the deficit,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT).


Telehealth Trends in USA

Use of internet for medical needs for health care related tasks, health information, filled prescription, to contact physician and also for medical insurance has shot up. 59% of telehealth services happens through telephone, where 41% happens through email and 29% happens through messages, says a survey by Rock Health. Over the past 10 years, telehealth activity has grown impressively in different service lines and there is an interesting growth rates and in volumes in different telehealth services. Delivering faster, better, cost less and convenient care is provided by the telehealth services but there may be difficulties in certain aspects like virtual visits, remotely monitoring patients for some providers.

Listed below are a few recents trends in telehealth:

Patient centred medical homes

Recently, PCMH have more positive patient experiences in advanced primary care.A relationship based system, partnering with patients and understanding their requirements by knowing their unique needs, culture, value and preferences. This method understands that the patients and families are the core members of the care team and also it is ensured that the patients have all the knowledge in regards to the care plans. Not only that but also with the help of the software we will be able to deliver our duty to the fullest satisfaction of the patients without using any hardware technology.

Telehealth applications

Telehealth is getting popular and one of the reasons is because of its virtual ability. Sometimes we may not be able to visit our doctor in person because of the time constraints or some situation where you are unable to leave your home. With the advancement in technology, now you can remotely reach your doctor and get proper consultation every day. With the help of your smartphone, you can install these telehealth applications on the go and reach your doctor anytime and anywhere.

A patient survey conducted by NCBI says that more than 50% people using health-related mobile applications. Another research conducted by markets and markets says that the mhealth solutions will reach $90 billion by 2022 and right now it is $21 billion.

Data Security in Telehealth

Security has always been a barricade for maintaining the data when it comes to telemedicine but not anymore. We are halfway through 2017 and all telehealth applications are making sure that the data is highly protected. Now we all know that everyone is accessing data with the help of applications and it is necessary to highly protect these data since it involves costs. Healthcare security policies which make accessing the data tougher by encrypting them or two-factor authentication for better security.

Types of diseases

There are few fatal diseases in the USA which is attributed to 75% of deaths. Among them, chronic diseases such as asthma, COPD, diabetes, heart failure, hypertension are in top ranks. Stats report says, one in every four deaths occurs due to such diseases.  All these diseases require continuous monitoring that increases the workload of care providers which is the most challenging. To reduce this, health care system recently started focusing on promoting “self-care” for chronically ill patients so that physicians can only be spent time on supervising them with the help of telehealth technology. Telehealth helps physicians to remotely monitor and manage their patient health that saves both time and cost. A study states, patients have saved 9 years of travel time and 3 million dollars in travel costs after started using Telehealth.

Age groups

Problems in our body come along with age and multiple chronic conditions are directly related to once age. One in five Americans will be 65, says a survey report, also, 80% of the people who are aged 65+ will have multiple chronic conditions. These chronic patients have a high frequency of getting readmitted. It is important to take at most care for the aged people and now telehealth is helping these aged patients in different aspects. Starting from home health care to handy mobile applications, telehealth is highly successful. After employing health service, hospital readmission rate has decreased 50% for heart failure and 44% for other illnesses. Over 8000 patients’ who use ehealth service find it similar that of an in-person office visit and 21% of them says that quality of care of virtual visits is equal or higher than an in-person visit.

It clearly shows, how telehealth is playing a vital role in healthcare industry. A good telehealth platform must be HIPAA compliant- it should protect health data information, allows patients and provider to schedule appointments, and should support online chat. HealthViewX can assist you in providing a better chronic care management solution where you can easily automate your ccm documents and integrate with your mobile phones. With HIPAA compliant platform hosted in cloud server, HealthViewX CCM solution is highly secure.