March 31, 2015
American Telemedicine Association
Gary Capistrant, Chief Policy Officer, American Telemedicine Association
Latoya Thomas, Director, State Policy Resource Center
Jordana Bernard, Chief Program Officer
I admit this is only my second ATA ‘This Month in Telemedicine’ webcast I have listened to and whereas the federal and state legislative ‘lingo’ isn’t as intimidating anymore, I still have a headache from going into information overload. Luckily it isn’t my full time job to be on top of legislative telemedicine on goings, but ATA’s. To me it was clear with each passing minute that ATA’s mission to achieve “Educating and engaging government, payers and the public about telemedicine” is steadfast, and kudos to their small staff to keep on top of legislative issues and make telehealth materialize for us all.
The biggest Telemedicine conference in the world: The annual ATA Annual Telemedicine Meeting and Trade show is next month, May 2-5 in LA and they are busy in preparation for this event that is over 2500 miles from their headquarters in Washington, D.C. Jordana Bernard, ATA Chief Program Officer, believes the conference highlights will be the pre-meeting courses (continuing education credits offered), State Telemedicine Gaps Analysis awards and the keynote speakers, Emmy-award winning chief medical correspondent for CNN, Sanjay Gupta and Patrick Soon-Shiong, Chairman and CEO, NantHealth. Early bird registration ends tomorrow, so hurry!
Additional up-to-date ATA highlights addressed by Jordana:
- There will be a survey arriving shortly in your email about how and if your organization is using telehealth in primary and urgent care practices when addressing mental conditions.
- Accreditation initiative: There are five ATA Accredited Telemedicine training programs with a new online patient consultation accreditation program launched in December 2014. –This newly developed training program could be useful for Therapists utilizing Wellpepper.
- Practice guideline initiatives: There are fourteen completed online documents under development such as the General Pediatric group, Pediatric mental workgroup, Teledermatology (revised guidelines from 2007), Telestroke guideline and an initial draft of remote burns and assessment treatment is forthcoming.
State license compacts are still being discussed as I mentioned in my last ‘This month in Telehealth’ blog. Latoya Thomas (a truly remarkable intelligent lady and my hero this week), Director of State Policy Resource center at ATA, summarized the current state of things (no punt intended!). There are 11 states that have introduced bills to legislation on how they would like to tackle this issue and sadly, my state, Washington, hasn’t introduced any bill! Legislation has decided that once physicians enter into a compact they will be issued expedited licenses in order to facilitate interstate licensure practices. Interesting Louisiana, Montana and Tennessee are looking at unique telemedicine licensing. There is a state policy webinar April 23rd that ATA will be hosting that might clarify and will undeniably go into more detail.
Last, but most definitely not least, an important CMS event happened on March 20th when “proposed rulemaking for electronic health record incentive program (“meaningful use“) stage 3  to begin by 2018. This proposal is open for public comment until May 29.” Also this month CMS announced a new payment model “The Next Generation ACO” (as I referred to in a post) which also contained ATA’s request to Expand Telehealth coverage. Gary Capistrant brushed upon the FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules (brushed because it is a heavily loaded topic). I personally have been avoiding it because it’s 400 pages long… and well I already have a headache.
For full audio/video of this webinar please visit here.
Next “This month in Telemedicine” is 4/26.