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Rural Health Information Hub

Kentucky TeleHealth Network

  • Year Network was established:
    1995: Kentucky TeleCare at University of Kentucky
    2000: Kentucky TeleHealth Network (KTHN)
  • Grant Period: 2013-2016
  • Program Representative Interviewed: Rob Sprang
  • Service Area: Statewide
  • Program Overview: Kentucky TeleCare's was originally created at the University of Kentucky (UK) to extend specialty healthcare services from the medical school to rural eastern and southeastern Kentucky. As a result, telehealth was operating in the eastern half of Kentucky by 1999, largely linked to UK. At that time, Medicaid (the largest payer source for most rural Kentucky healthcare facilities) did not recognize telehealth as a reimbursable service. In 2000, the state legislature passed telehealth legislation that created a statewide telehealth network (KTHN) and mandated telehealth reimbursement.

    KTHN is a decentralized model where any site may request membership free of charge as long as they commit to using secure video conference technology. Medicaid regulations mandate that if a telehealth site is billing Medicaid, both the provider site and the patient site must be members of KTHN. Every member site is responsible for purchasing their own communications connectivity and other operative equipment. Payment models include fee-for-service as well as contracted telehealth clinics.

    There are currently more than 400 members of KTHN, and more than 20 medical, surgical and mental/behavioral health specialty services are offered. Members include:
    • Academic medical centers
    • Urban and rural hospitals
    • Primary care centers
    • Public health departments
    • Community mental health centers
    • State psychiatric hospitals
    • Nursing homes
    • State/federal correctional facilities
    Kentucky TeleCare still resides within UK as an important initiative for the medical school.

    Read more about Telehealth Use in Rural Healthcare and see more program examples of Telehealth on RHIhub.