$5000 Grants Available for Rural Pediatric Clinics to Begin Telehealth

Application Deadline October 22

The “Supporting Providers and Families to Access Telehealth and Distant Care Services for Pediatric Care” project is a grant between the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) in the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The goal of this grant is to support telehealth access and infrastructure for the provision of comprehensive care to children and adolescents, including children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) and other vulnerable pediatric populations, utilizing a medical home approach during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Read More

Expanded List of Telehealth Services

October 15, 2020

Yesterday, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) notified Congress that they have, “Released an expanded list of telehealth services that Medicare will pay for during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). Effective immediately, Medicare will begin paying eligible practitioners for 11 additional services delivered via telehealth, including certain cardiac rehabilitation and monitoring services.”

Information on newly added Medicare telehealth services and codes is available here.

Webinar: Impacts of COVID-19 on Telehealth in Missouri

Date: October 22, 2020

Time: 2:00 PM Central

REGISTER

In this webinar, speakers will discuss opportunities and challenges facing the adoption of telehealth, during and after the pandemic, from a policy and health provider perspective.

Telehealth has long been available as a supplement to in-person care, though usage was low due to regulatory restrictions and infrastructure barriers. However, due to the need for virtual care during the public health emergency, regulations were relaxed allowing telehealth to quickly emerge as a viable alternative to traditional care.

As we continue to navigate existing challenges to widespread adoption of telehealth, the pandemic provides us an opportunity to think innovatively about how to transform current telehealth policy to ensure everyone has access to the care they need.

Read our policy brief, “Navigating COVID-19: Health Policy Solutions- Telehealth,” for a summary before the webinar.

Apply for Pediatric Telehealth Stipends

NRHA has partnered with the American Academy of Pediatrics and HRSA’s Maternal Child Health Bureau to provide technical assistance for the Supporting Providers and Families to Access Telehealth and Distant Care Services for Pediatric Care project via a short, two-page application process. The goal of this grant is to support telehealth access and infrastructure for the provision of comprehensive care to children and adolescents by practices with pediatricians, nurse practitioners, family medicine doctors, and other non-pediatrician physicians.

The purpose of this stipend program is to offer $5,000 to community-based practices that serve rural areas (with an emphasis on underserved populations in those areas) and are new to telehealth implementation. The stipend will support practices with the implementation of telehealth and distance care through participation in a virtual learning community. This includes children and youth with special health care needs and other vulnerable pediatric populations utilizing a medical home approach during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Awardees will participate in the program from November 2020 to April 2021. Training and technical support will be provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics throughout the duration of the program, and NRHA and a telehealth consultant will also provide technical assistance and support to participating practices.

To learn more about this project, attend an informational session at 11 a.m. CDT Oct. 9. Submit your application for this funding opportunity by 5 p.m. CDT Oct. 22.

HHS Awards over $35 million to Increase Access to High Quality Health Care in Rural Communities

August 20 – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), awarded over $35 million to more than 50 rural organizations across 33 states as part of a sustained federal effort to increase access to high quality care in rural communities. The awards reflect investments in key areas including telehealth, health workforce training, health research, technical assistance for vulnerable rural hospitals and HIV care and treatment.

“President Trump has made it a priority to strengthen rural health infrastructure and promote the health of rural Americans,” said HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan. “As someone who grew up in rural America and with rural healthcare providers in my family, I know the challenges they face, and I know there’s a need for transformation. These awards are in line with the actions the President called for in his Executive Order on Improving Rural Health and Telehealth Access and are part of our overall effort to improve rural access to care in sustainable and innovative ways.”

Read the release.

Webinar: Stepping Into the Future Now – Innovation Through Teledentistry

The Missouri Coalition for Oral Health is pleased to offer an exciting 2-part webinar in cooperation with the Missouri Office of Dental Health and Access Teledentistry.

This will provide an overview of teledentistry practice in Missouri, including the equipment, procedures and processes you can utilize to connect with patients, create efficiencies and provide innovative dental care while minimizing risk during the pandemic. See applications beyond triaging your patients. Learn strategies on how to optimize your hygiene team to make up for constraints caused by the pandemic.

The webinar is free and includes CEUs. Registration is required. 
Part 1 will be held online Friday, September 18 from 2 – 4 PM.
Part 2 will be held online Friday, September 25 from 2 – 4 PM. 

To begin registration, visit https://www.cezoom.com/registration/?conf=679
If you have any questions or issues, please email info@oralhealthmissouri.org.

Registration and Information

Improving VA and Select Community Care Health Information Exchanges

August 6, 2020

Full Report

The VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) reviewed VA facilities and community providers for usage of health information exchanges (HIEs) in their respective communities and to identify any barriers that may impede the use of HIEs. HIEs share patient health record information electronically and coordinate care for enrolled veterans.

The VA MISSION Act of 2018 included language to improve information sharing between the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and the community. The Veterans Health Information Exchange program office has two methods to share information with the community, via internet exchange (VA Exchange) and email exchange (VA Direct). Exchanging health information electronically provides a secure method for healthcare providers to share veteran health information.

The OIG conducted a survey and interviewed the 48 lower complexity level 2 and 3 VHA facilities because of the higher expected use of community providers. Additionally, the OIG interviewed staff from the offices of Veterans Health Information Exchange (VHIE), Information Technology, Community Care, and Rural Health; two state health information exchanges; and Cerner Corporation.

VA has two contracts establishing community coordination for VHIE. The performance work statements for the contracts require coordinators to provide training, policy, and process assistance to VHA directors and staff. The OIG reviewed the performance work statements for these contracts.

During facility interviews, the staff cited the most challenges in training, the need for more community partners, use of contract community coordinators, and technology. Those using either VA Exchange or VA Direct cited successes and felt with more community participation the goals of the program were achievable.

The OIG made four recommendations to the Under Secretary for Health related to the need for increased utilization of VA Direct, education for staff and veterans on VA Exchange and VA Direct, expansion of community partnerships, and use of contract VHIE community coordinators.

Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule: Understanding 4 Key Topics Listening Session

Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule: Understanding 4 Key Topics Listening Session

Thursday, August 13 from 1:30 ET to 3 pm ET

Register for Medicare Learning Network events.

Proposed changes to the CY 2021 Physician Fee Schedule are aimed at reducing burden, recognizing clinicians for the time they spend taking care of patients, removing unnecessary measures, and making it easier for clinicians to be on the path towards value-based care. During this listening session, CMS experts briefly cover provisions from the proposed rule and address your clarifying questions to help you formulate your written comments for formal submission:

  • Extending telehealth and licensing flexibilities beyond the public health emergency
  • Updating Evaluation and Management (E/M) coding guidance
  • Updating the Quality Payment Program/MIPS Value Pathways
  • Updating opioid use disorder/substance use disorder provisions

We encourage you to review the following materials prior to the call:

Note: feedback received during this listening session is not a substitute for your formal comments on the rule. See the proposed rule for information on submitting these comments by October 5.

Target Audience: Medicare Part B fee-for-service clinicians; office managers and administrators; state and national associations that represent health care providers; and other stakeholders.

Updated Rural Cybersecurity Toolkit and National Rural Health Information Technology Coalition

Cybersecurity Toolkit for Rural Hospitals and Clinics

Ransomware and cybercrime are growing threats to all health care facilities – big or small. Protecting a facility from cyber threats can be a daunting task. However, failure to protect a facility from cyberattacks can result in fees, fines, litigation, media stories, mistrust, and decreased market capture. Check out the following updated Cybersecurity Toolkit and ongoing coalition focused on rural health information technology (HIT).

This updated toolkit from the National Rural Health Resource Center (The Center) is organized into four steps to guide rural hospitals and clinics in developing and fostering a well-rounded cybersecurity program, including awareness, assessment, implementation & remediation, and education. This toolkit includes resources from various governmental and non-profit organizations. It also includes checklists and tools that are appropriate for all audiences, including hospitals and clinics in rural settings. This resource was supported by FORHP.

National Rural Health Information Technology Coalition

National Rural Health Information Technology Coalition

The National Rural Health Information Technology (HIT) Coalition is an informal network of rural and HIT leaders from organizations at every level, working together to advance the implementation of HIT across rural America by:

  • Enhancing the understanding of rural HIT issues.
  • Advocating for HIT applications and solutions relevant to rural facilities.
  • Helping to drive knowledge and information about rural HIT throughout the country.

The National Rural HIT Coalition meets by conference call and annually in-person. The Coalition is supported by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) and coordinated by TASC, a program of The Center. This group will next meet on May 30, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. Central Time for an update on state and federal HIT legislation and regulations as well as COVID-19 HIT updates related to telehealth, the FCC Connected Care Pilot and Rural Health Care programs, and cybersecurity. For more information about getting involved with the National Rural HIT Coalition, please email Nicole Clement.