Saturday, September 8, 2012

State Actions to Help Telehealth

According to the recent issue of the Rural Futures newsletter published by the New York State Legislative Commission on Rural Resources, the Commission was able to secure $50,000 to conduct a home telehealth demonstration program.

The need and demand for telehealth and telemedicine services particularly in rural areas across the state was highlighted at the Commission’s roundtable discussion held on telehealth and telemedicine earlier this year. Participants indicated that many rural areas are faced with overall physician shortages and/or lack specialists in fields such as psychiatry, obstetrics, and dentistry.
The plan for establishing the home telehealth study is to see if telehealth services can help treat congestive heart failure, diabetes, and/or chronic pulmonary obstructive disease in rural areas.

The home health organization selected to conduct the study will evaluate their findings and provide cost benchmarks with or without the use of telehealth to the legislature and the Department of Health.

Cost benefit measurements in terms of the quality benefits outcomes for each condition addressed via telehealth will also be required and reported, with the goal to bring telehealth services statewide.  

In other state activities, Governor Andrew Cuomo on August 22nd signed into law bills A.9834 and S.6970 to streamline the process to credential healthcare practitioners providing telemedicine services to patients in the state. 

This bill permits the patient site hospital to rely on both credentialing and quality assurance program peer review information that has been performed at the distant hospital site where the consulting physician is located.