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December 2015 
HTRC's monthly telehealth bulletin

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


MTN research confirms patients love telehealth

For providers worried about offering telehealth, new research from the University of Missouri and Missouri Telehealth Network (MTN) puts those qualms to rest. 
Researchers surveyed Missouri telehealth patients, doctors and technology coordinators across the MTN network. Eighty-three percent of patients agreed that they received skilled care through telehealth. Moreover, over three out of four agreed that they would use telehealth again. As a bonus, 68 percent said that telehealth had saved them both time and money. 
"Our study confirmed and validated the use of telehealth to care for rural patients," said MTN's Mirna Becevic, Ph.D., and lead author of the study, in an interview with the University of Missouri. "Knowing the level of satisfaction among all users allows us to explore the possibility of expanding specialty services such as behavioral health, dermatology and care for autism beyond rural areas to include more urban sites."


January 28
Jefferson City, Mo.

Save the date for the 2nd annual Missouri Telehealth Summit hosted by Missouri Telehealth Network! The summit is free, but registration is required. This event will foster understanding and awareness of telehealth, create collaborative relationships and provide pathways to partnership. 

HTRC Project Director Janine Gracy and Prairie View Vice President of Operations and Older Adult Services Mary Carmen, Ph.D.

HTRC helps KS facility plan to provide needed services through telehealth

HTRC Project Director Janine Gracy was recently invited back for an encore presentation to Prairie View, a mental health center in Newton, Kan.  Mary Carmen, Ph.D., vice president of operations and older adult services, asked Gracy to return to talk with Prairie View providers about the value of telehealth services and integration.
"We asked Janine to come back to talk to the providers and nurses to get them on board and excited," said Carmen. "A lot of [the staff] are excited about the possibilities and interested in using telehealth."
Gracy said getting providers on-board and seeking their early input is a smart strategy that will pay dividends.
"When providers are comfortable and enthusiastic about telehealth - that helps the patients reach a higher level of comfort with the technology. Also, enthusiastic providers have a lot of innovative ideas for providing services," said Gracy.

Oklahoma expands PA scope-of-practice
 with telehealth

Oklahoma, like most regions of the U.S., faces a primary care shortage. But a new law that went into effect November 1, marked another step in the Sooner State's effort to improve primary care access via telemedicine. New legislation allows physicians to supervise physicians' assistants (PA) via telecommunications and eliminates the requirement that supervising physicians spend a half-day onsite each week. 
According to Deputy Executive Director of the Oklahoma State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision Reji Varghese, this new rule was designed to expand the PA scope-of-practice and help alleviate the primary care shortage, particularly in rural areas.
"Requiring in-person physician supervision created a lot of problems for PAs practicing in rural areas," explained Varghese. "Allowing supervision through telecommunications adds flexibility and convenience and increases access to primary care."
Varghese said that additional, complimentary changes to PA rules are now underway and will be open for public comment until December 31. These new adjustments will better align the two policies, facilitating much needed care through virtual supervision without delays. 
For more information about telehealth legislation or regulations, call HTRC at 877-643-HTRC.


Three Missouri facilities awarded USDA telemedicine grants

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced the 2015 recipients of Distance Learning and Telemedicine grants. HTRC congratulates the three Missouri facilities that were awarded grants:

Compass Health, Inc.................................$123,000
Bates County Memorial Hospital...............$265,000
Lester E. Cox Medical Centers..................$287,000
Missouri Telehealth Network, HTRC's Missouri partner, provided a letter of support to Lester E. Cox Medical Centers, known as Cox Health, of Springfield, Mo. Cox Health plans to use the funding to expand their telehealth network to six rural clinics, six ambulance stations and three county health departments.
Like Cox Health, Bates County Memorial Hospital will use the grant to expand their existing network. Compass Health plans to purchase videoconferencing equipment to provide services for 18 rural clinics.

Interested in applying for a USDA telemedicine grant? HTRC can provide guidance so give us a call at 877-643-HTRC!
WhileTelehealth Beat is usually published on the third Friday of the month, due to the Martin Luther King holiday weekend, look for January's edition on January 22. Until then, Happy New Year! 
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Heartland Telehealth Resource Center | | 
 4330 Shawnee Mission Parkway   Fairway, KS 66205