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March 2016     
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.
From left: Sponsors of CONNECT for Health Act Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), Senate Cosponsors Roger Wicker (R-MS), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), John Thune (R-SD), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Christopher Coons (D-DE).

Bipartisan, federal legislation would mark a major advancement in telehealth coverage

Medicare may soon be lifting many of its telehealth restrictions. The Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) Act, better known as the CONNECT for Health Act, is a bipartisan bill introduced to Congress in February. The Act would eliminate section 1834(m) of the Social Security Act, which includes several key barriers that prevent health care providers from using telehealth and other technologies with Medicare patients.

Senator Brian Schatz (D - Hawaii), a co-sponsor of the bill, believes the proposed legislation will play a big role in driving down healthcare costs.

"Telehealth is the future of healthcare. It saves money and improves health outcomes...Our bipartisan bill puts us on a path to transform healthcare delivery, making it less costly and more convenient for patients and providers," said Schatz when speaking on the Senate floor.

April 27-28
Columbia, Mo.

The Missouri Telehealth Network will host a training conference April 27-28. The training will cover telemedicine basics like reimbursement, technology and telepresenter best practices, but it will also zero in on topics like direct-to-consumer and the Show-Me Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) telehealth program. ECHO is a program designed for general care providers to receive specialty training taught by specialists via telehealth technology.

The conference will feature presentations from state and national telehealth experts like Mei Kwong, JD, a senior policy associate at the Center for Connected Health Policy and Latoya Thomas, director of the State Policy Resource Center at the American Telemedicine Association and Dr. Karen Edison, MTN medical director.

May 14 - 17
Minneapolis, Minn.

Join 6,000 fellow telehealth enthusiasts for the 2016 ATA Annual Conference and Trade Show in beautiful Minneapolis. For over 20 years ATA's conference has been THE place for updates on the newest telehealth trends and networking with telehealth experts from across the country. If you're new to telehealth, there's no place like ATA to jumpstart you on the road to a successful, sustainable telehealth business model. 


Kansas connects community to free mental health and substance use checkups  

A Central Kansas partnership will soon use telehealth kiosks to connect adults and adolescents dealing with substance abuse or mental health issues to providers. Additionally, the project will connect law enforcement and local mental health centers for real-time psychiatric screenings.

The Centene Foundation for Quality Healthcare, in collaboration with Cenpatico, awarded $110,000 to the Pawnee County Health Department (PCHD) for the project. In partnership with the Center for Counseling & Consultation (The Center), PCHD will assist individuals with mental health and substance abuse issues. Robin Rziha, PCHD administrator, said this grant "offers a means of addressing mental health and substance abuse issues that have been recognized as priorities from the community health needs assessments in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, and Stafford counties." 

Telehealth may expand Oklahoman's access to optometrists

A bill to expand telehealth in the field of optometry is currently making its way through the Oklahoma State Senate. Senate Bill No. 1163 proposes the use of "...applications designed to be used on a computer or video conferencing via an Internet device either in person or in remote locations..." 
According to HTRC's Cynthia Scheideman-Miller, "We are seeing a trend in Oklahoma, of boards of health care professionals including telehealth in their delivery of care."
Oklahoma is not the only state to propose a bill to formally introduce telehealth to the field of optometry. The Alabama Board of Optometry was successful in passing a rule that went into effect in March 2015. Similar to SB 1163, the Alabama rule expanded the scope of telehealth within optometry. Other states including Delaware and California have also followed suit.  
"Telehealth is a critical component of increasing health care access," said Scheideman-Miller, "and I believe we'll continue to see professional boards and state legislatures working to expand delivery of care through telehealth."
For now, SB1163 is listed as "General Order," and is not currently on the Senate's agenda. To see when the bill will appear on the Senate's agenda visit To track the bill's progress through the Senate visit

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Heartland Telehealth Resource Center | | 
 4330 Shawnee Mission Parkway   Fairway, KS 66205

Heartland Telehealth Resource Center | 4330 Shawnee Mission Parkway | Fairway | KS | 66205