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Telehealth Use in Rural Healthcare – News

News stories from the past 60 days.

Aug 11, 2020 - Features Beauregard Health System, an acute care hospital in rural Louisiana, that launched a platform to provide critical care, psychiatry, in-patient and emergency neurology, and cardiology services via telemedicine. Includes an interview with Beaureard's chief operating officer on how they launched the platform, how they decided on the services to provide virtually, and lessons learned.
Source: Xtelligent Healthcare Media
Aug 10, 2020 - Summarizes the Accelerating Connected Care and Education Support Services on the Internet (ACCESS the Internet) Act, a bill introduced to Congress that would increase funding for telehealth expansion and access to broadband. If passed, the bill would provide an additional $400 million to the Federal Communications Commission's COVID-19 Telehealth Program, another $100 million for the Department of Veterans Affairs to expand telehealth access for rural and undeserved veterans, $1.3 billion to the Department of Education to boost distance learning service, and give $200 million to the Institute for Museum and Library Services to improve internet connectivity for libraries in rural areas.
Source: Xtelligent Healthcare Media
Aug 6, 2020 - Executive Order from the Office of the President intended to increase access to, improve the quality of, and improve the financial economics of rural healthcare, including by increasing access to care through telehealth. Provides information and timelines for implementation of various initiatives to accomplish these goals.
Source: Federal Register
Aug 5, 2020 - To improve access to healthcare, Greene County General Hospital in Indiana implemented a telehealth program in schools across the county. Once COVID-19 hit, they quickly moved their telehealth model from the closed schools to their clinics to offer care to all patients. Describes how patients found the program to be convenient and easy to use.
Source: Healthcare IT News
Aug 3, 2020 - President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order to increase access and improve the quality of rural healthcare, including increasing access to high-quality care through telehealth. Includes a collection of news stories from several different sources covering the Executive Order.
Jul 30, 2020 - Summarizes research focused on the implications of telehealth in addressing rural health disparities. Explains how telehealth helps bridge communication gaps, allows for the continuation of care, and reduces physician and patient exposure to coronavirus, but identifies the lack of broadband access in rural areas as a barrier to implementation.
Source: American Academy of Family Physicians
Jul 29, 2020 - Summarizes a study that shows safety net providers can increase their telemedicine services and expand patient access to specialized medical care by investing in new staff and technology. Researchers studied nine community centers in California, most of which were in rural locations. Findings provide implications for how to sustain and expand the reach of telemedicine programs.
Source: RAND Corporation
Jul 16, 2020 - Addresses the lack of access to mental health treatment in rural Texas, describes how telehealth has the potential to fill critical gaps in access to healthcare, but many rural homes also lack access to broadband. Discusses local and federal efforts to expand broadband into rural Texas, but some challenges include resistance from corporations and lawmakers.
Source: Texas Observer
Jul 15, 2020 - Blog post from Seema Verma, Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), shares data highlighting the impact of telehealth on beneficiary access and discusses how this information will be used to determine whether current expanded policies should remain in place beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Describes specific CMS actions to expand Medicare telemedicine before and during COVID-19 and explains how telehealth is an important source of care, especially in rural areas.
Source: Health Affairs
Jul 7, 2020 - The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is seeking input on scientific gaps and research needs that should be addressed as cancer-related care via telehealth becomes a more common part of routine clinical practice. This RFI is part of a planning effort to identify promising research opportunities, methods, and strategies to address gaps in this area. Responses are accepted through July 30, 2020.
Source: National Institutes of Health
Jul 6, 2020 - A heart failure nurse who serves mostly rural patients discusses how telehealth has made providing medical care more convenient and personal during the COVID-19 pandemic. Discusses how doctor's offices can often be anxiety-inducing and that telehealth has helped to strengthen connections between healthcare workers and their patients.
Source: Texas Monthly
Jun 19, 2020 - The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has received approval for 3 years for an information collection associated with the rules for the Telecommunications Program and the Healthcare Connect Fund Program contained in the FCC's Promoting Telehealth in Rural America Report and Order, FCC 19-78.
Source: Federal Register
Jun 17, 2020 - Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander recommended the federal government permanently extend policy changes that allow physicians to be reimbursed for a telehealth appointment wherever the patient is located as well as policy changes that doubled the number of telehealth services that could be reimbursed by Medicare. Explains that 29 other temporary federal policy changes should also be considered for being made permanent.
Source: U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
Jun 17, 2020 - The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Wireline Competition Bureau approved an additional 62 funding applications for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program. Rural and urban healthcare providers will utilize the $23.25 million of funding to provide telehealth services during the pandemic.
Source: Federal Communications Commission
Jun 16, 2020 - The Federal Communications Commission is seeking comment on an information collection for the Promoting Telehealth for Low-Income Consumers, COVID-19 Telehealth Program. This report and order established the COVID-19 Telehealth Program and the Connected Care Pilot Program to help healthcare professionals provide connected care services to their patients. Comments are due by August 17, 2020.
Source: Federal Register
Jun 15, 2020 - Telehealth's potential to transform healthcare has been highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it also revealed the extent of the healthcare gap that exists for rural and low-income residents. Provides recommendations to address the gap, including investing in rural broadband, marrying chronic and home care, and expanding telehealth in mental healthcare facilities, emergency responder vehicles, and hospitals.
Source: The Daily Yonder

Last Updated: 8/11/2020