Well, summer is finally here. It’s my least favorite season. It’s hot and uncomfortable. Here in Billings the sun rises about 4:30 a.m. and it stays light until 10 p.m. or so. And now it’s starting to get hot.
But the weather isn’t the only thing that’s heating up. Telehealth is, too. There are a lot of exciting things going on and this is a good time to mention a few.
First, Oregon has enacted a telehealth parity bill. It will take effect in January of 2016. There are now 28 states that have parity laws on the books or waiting to take effect. What’s so special about this one? The bill specifically states that a patient can be in the home when seen by a provider over a telehealth connection. That’s huge. Up to this point, most payments were based on the Medicare requirement for patient locations, which were hospitals, clinics or other provider locations. CMS is loosening up a little, but this bill goes far beyond Medicare by requiring payment for electronic ‘house calls.’ Did I say that’s huge? Well it is!
In regional news, NRTRC has settled on a theme for the 2016 conference. It’s “Telehealth: Spanning the Care Continuum." We’ll be sending out requests for abstracts for presenters soon. If you have any ideas of who you’d like to hear speak or what subjects you’d like presented, leave a comment or e-mail us (http://www.nrtrc.org/conact-us) and let us know.
Tomorrow at 2 p.m. Mountain time we’ll present our monthly webinar. Our colleague Jonathan Neufeld will be presenting an overview of our new video telemental health toolkit. Be sure to join us. And if you have further ideas about what you’d like to see in a webinar, leave a comment here or contact us with your suggestions. We have a few open slots for the rest of the year and would like to offer what’s most valuable to our friends.
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