Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) February 13, 2014
Led by former U.S. Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle and Trent Lott, and former Senator John Breaux, the Alliance for Connected Care (http://www.connectwithcare.org) was launched on Wednesday to promote policy reform around telehealth and remote patient monitoring. Fred Goldstein, Care Continuum Alliance interim Executive Director, was called to serve on its Advisory Board.
Long thought of as an issue affecting only rural areas, advances in technology and broadband deployment have fostered new models of delivery in health care settings across the country. From management of chronic disease, improved access to specialty and convenient primary care and mental health services, telehealth is fast becoming an integral component in the delivery of American health care.
“Several members of the Care Continuum Alliance are involved with the work of the Alliance for Connected Care, and it aligns perfectly with our organization’s principle of improving health outcomes across populations through individually-targeted solutions,” said Goldstein, CCA interim Executive Director. “The promise of these technologies to improve access and quality while reducing costs must be leveraged to improve our country’s health system in an appropriately regulated environment.”
The three former senators are leading a diverse coalition working to raise awareness among policymakers about the advancements in telehealth, and to establish a regulatory environment in which patients have more access to connected care and medical providers are empowered to deliver safe, high-quality care using advanced delivery methods.
Board members of the Alliance include Verizon, WellPoint, CVS, Walgreens, Teladoc, HealthSpot, Doctor on Demand, Welch Allyn, MDLIVE, Care Innovations and Cardinal Health.
“Increased adoption and use of new and innovative technologies is at the core of many of the payment and delivery reforms being tested across the nation and is also central to increasing patient engagement. We must ensure that our regulatory environment appropriately balances the exciting advances in technology for patients, while still maintaining safeguards that allow innovation,” Senator Daschle said. “To put it in perspective, the legal structure around telehealth was established in 2000 when cell phones were still just phones.”
“It is time to make connected care a bipartisan priority in Washington,” said Senator Lott. “Imagine an elderly woman with diabetes who can consult a doctor about managing her disease without having to leave her home; or a working parent who can video chat with his child’s pediatrician; or a patient in need of mental health services, but too afraid to go to an office, now able to access care through a laptop; or a doctor who can monitor a patient already discharged from the hospital. We must improve access to the kinds of innovation that can improve patients’ lives.”
“Despite this rapidly developing technology, and increasing interest among patients and physicians in using connected care tools, legal and regulatory barriers continue to limit mainstream acceptance of the technology,” said Senator Breaux. “Fully realizing the promise of connected care demands urgency among policymakers to foster a regulatory structure that enables safe use of remote patient care technology.”
Alliance leaders noted that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been a pioneer in connected care, with nearly half a million veterans receiving more than 1.4 million remote care contacts during fiscal year 2012. Commercial insurers, large employers and Medicaid are also much further ahead in covering telehealth services than Medicare. In fact, 20 states and the District of Columbia require coverage of telehealth by commercial carrier and 45 states allow reimbursement of telehealth services in Medicaid.
Alliance representatives noted that, to date, policies and regulations have emphasized keeping people out of the hospital with prevention, chronic disease management, care coordination and readmission penalties. But government health care programs generally do not reimburse home health agencies for remote patient monitoring or pay for patients to check in with care providers from their homes via real-time video.
About the Care Continuum Alliance
The Population Health Alliance represents more than 80 organizations and individuals and aligns all stakeholders on the care continuum toward improving population health. Through advocacy, research and education, the Care Continuum Alliance advances strategies to improve care quality and outcomes and reduce preventable costs for the well and those with and at risk of chronic conditions.