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April 2015 

Heartland Telehealth Resource Center is here to meet your telehealth needs. We are a government-sponsored organization with a wide range of services, and many of them are free. Email us at or call us at 877-643-HTRC.


Same great care, telemed style


"I've been asked many times if we can make a quality, therapeutic, doctor-patient relationship using telemedicine...and I can tell you that we can certainly make these therapeutic healing relationships," says Dr. Karen Edison in the latest short video from HTRC. 


Edison is the Missouri Telehealth Network Medical Director and one of the heath care providers who helped pave the way for federal telemedicine reimbursement


HTRC recently sat down with Edison to discuss this common question from health care providers who are concerned with maintaining the quality of care over telemedicine. In the video, Edison recounts how she knew telemedicine was working when a particular patient, nearing the end of her life, made one final appointment just to say goodbye. 


Says Edison, "It was a validation that we could form that kind of healing relationship, even though I had never seen her in person myself." 




Increasingly, nurses are taking the lead on telehealth and mHealth technology at their organizations. Join HTRC to learn how nurses are using tech to heal patients and check out #NurseTechMonday. The hashtag will be featured on Twitter each Monday. Follow @HeartlandTRC or use #NurseTechMonday to join the conversation!



Oklahoma State Medical Association Annual Meeting

April 17-18

Oklahoma City, Okla.


Join us at the Oklahoma State Medical Association Annual Meeting on April 17-18 at the Association's headquarters. HTRC and the Telehealth Alliance of Oklahoma (TAO) will be sharing a booth at the meeting. Be sure to stop by and visit with HTRC and TAO. 


Oklahoma Public Health Association Conference

April 21-22
Midwest City, Okla.

Join us at the 2015 Oklahoma Public Health Association Conference on April 21-22 at the Reed Conference Center, at 5800 Will Rogers Blvd. in Midwest City, Okla. Make sure you swing by HTRC's booth at the conference. 

May 2-5

Los Angeles, Calif.


The American Telemedicine Associations's (ATA) Annual Meeting kicks off in Los Angeles for its 20th annual meeting and trade show. Over 6,000 are expected at the Los Angeles Convention Center and all can expect a jam-packed line up of the world's top thought leaders in telemedicine and mHealth. In addition to great speakers and a vast array of vendors, the event offers networking opportunities you can't miss:


Monday, May 4 from 12 noon -1 p.m. HTRC Oklahoma hosts a BYOL networking opportunity for Oklahomans. Room 410.


Tuesday, May 5 from 12 noon -1 p.m. Missouri Telehealth Network hosts a networking event. Room 410.


May 5-9

Midwest City, Okla.


Join the 18th annual Oklahoma Primary Care Association Update in Midwest City, Okla. May 5-9. This conference provides the latest in best practices for family and community medicine. HTRC's Cynthia Scheideman-Miller presents the May 6 lunch session: Telemedicine: What you need to know about reimbursement and new regulations.





Connect and go: Better tech leads to tele-oncology expansion in Salina, Kan.


The Tammy Walker Cancer Center (TWCC) in Salina, Kan., just added a second site to their growing tele-oncology program. According to Patient Navigator Lynn Marshall, tablets and better teleconferencing platforms have given TWCC the flexibility they need to expand their reach to a second clinic in North-Central Kansas.


"Telehealth used to be this giant piece of equipment that we had to have available and had to have connected ...and there were so many things that could affect our ability to connect," said Marshall. "But we just don't have those issues anymore. If we're connecting via Zoom, we just connect and if we're connecting with our Polycom, it just works." 



Federal and state telemedicine legislation abounds


According to the ATA, at least 100 bills have been introduced this year in 36 states related to telemedicine. Most recently, Arkansas passed a mandate for private insurers to cover telemedicine. Additionally, bills to increase coverage for telemedicine are expected to be introduced in the U.S. House.


Federal telemed legislation gets second chance 

mHealth News - Eric Wicklund

Two telehealth bills with bipartisan support are expected to be reintroduced after time ran out in 2014. HR 5380 would make more provider types, including physical therapists and diabetes educators, eligible for reimbursement. The bill would also make it easier for rural health clinics to be reimbursed for video-conferencing, store-and-forward and remote patient monitoring. HR 3306 would cover remote patient monitoring under Medicare home health payments and would cover critical access hospitals and sole community hospitals for telemedicine use, even if they are not in rural areas. 


U.S. House passes new 2015 MACRA act with new telehealth provisions

National Law Review - Phillip Peisch

The House recently passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) act, which is now being considered by the Senate. MACRA would repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate and expand telehealth. Expansion of telehealth would happen under three provisions: Creation of a payment methodology that would incentivize use of remote patient monitoring for care coordination; Reimburse for telemedicine in alternative payment models, and; Mandate the Government Accountability Office to compile studies and reports on telehealth and its affects on Medicaid and Medicare within two years of the passing of the legislation. 



Top news headlines in telemedicine


Texas Medical Board further restricts telemedicine

New York Times - Abby Goodnough

While many states are working to increase access to telemedicine, the Texas Medical Board voted recently to restrict telemedicine in the state. The move came as a response to the Dallas-based, direct-to-consumer (DTC) company Teladoc. The state of Texas and Teledoc have been engaged in 4-year battle over the definition of telemedicine. Texas already has some of the strictest rules on two way-video conferencing, requiring an in-person visit with providers before a patient can be seen via telemedicine. The new rule says that doctors cannot establish a relationship via email forms, a tactic commonly used by DTC companies. 


RITE-AID and HealthSpot create new telehealth kiosks in Ohio stores

Dark Daily - Patricia Kirk

RiteAid recently introduced a new telemed tool in Ohio stores: kiosks providing telemedicine consultations with physicians from the Cleveland Clinic and other well-established Ohio facilities. RiteAid and HealthSpot, a telemedicine provider, report the kiosks give patients 15-minute doctor visits for about $60-$80. 


VA telehealth program gets positive results from recent audit

mHealth News - Eric Wicklund

The VA telehealth program is improving clinical outcomes and reducing costs for veterans. In a recent audit, the cost of the telehealth program was shown to be hundreds of thousands of dollars less than nursing home alternatives. The program saw an increase in enrollment in patient categories for chronic care and health promotion patients but a slight decrease in enrollment of patients in their most vulnerable category: non-institutional care. This was an concerning trend as many of these patients could benefit from the services the telemedicine program provides.


Surge in connected devices and applications to monitor diabetes

MedCity News - Connie Chitwood-Vu

Connected devices and apps to monitor diabetes are on the rise; however, the validity and quality of these devices can vary. Though FDA approval is not required, some experts are encouraging companies to apply for approval, saying that the FDA stamp-of-approval could help doctors and patients decipher which are actionable and evidence-based and which are "just for fun."


Getting ahold of a doctor can be difficult - even for other doctors

mHealth News - Eric Wicklund

In the age of care coordination, communicating with other members of a patient's care team is more important than ever. But a recent survey of over 1,000 health professionals found that 70 percent say reaching these members can be a drain on time and resources. Eighty-eight percent recognized mHealth and telehealth as a potential solution, but only one-third are currently using these tools for care-coordination. Respondents say that compatibility of systems is an obstacle to coordination. 



Aspiring health care professionals introduced to telehealth


Ellsworth County Medical Center (ECMC) in Ellsworth, Kan. recognizes the importance of telehealth and is already preparing the health care professionals of tomorrow for using telemedicine in their careers. That's why recently ECMC invited HTRC Project Director Janine Gracy to introduce telehealth at their annual CampMed for Kansas high school students who are planning to pursue a health care careers.


"Telemedicine is quickly becoming an integral part of the way we deliver healthcare at ECMC," said Beth Vallier, chair of the CampMed Taskforce. "Students considering a career in healthcare need to have a working understanding of the impact this incredible technology can and will have on virtually any aspect of a health care career."

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