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LeadingAge Recommends Medicare Changes to Congressional Telehealth Caucus

On April 10, 2019 by Jodi Boyne

Responding to the Congressional Telehealth Caucus's request for information, LeadingAge recommended several changes in Medicare policy to expand access to telehealth services and remote monitoring, improve patient outcomes, and control health care costs.  

Telemedicine Growing at Rapid Pace in Minnesota; Different Uses for Metro and Rural Patients

On December 12, 2018 by Jodi Boyne

Telemedicine grew at a rapid pace in Minnesota between 2010 and 2015 with a nearly seven-fold growth in visits jumping from 11,113 in 2010 to 86,238 visits in 2015, according to a new Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and University of Minnesota School of Public Health study highlighted in Health Affairs

RUSH Act Seeks to Improve Opportunities for Telehealth Services

On August 7, 2018 by Jodi Boyne

New bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would allow qualified physician group practices to furnish telehealth services in skilled nursing facilities under the Medicare program. 

Proposed Medicare Physician Payment Rule Expands Coverage of Telehealth

On July 17, 2018 by Jeff Bostic

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) last week released a proposed rule on physician payment that would take effect for calendar year 2019. Included are several proposals for updating and changing those payment practices, but the changes of most significance to LeadingAge Minnesota members are the proposed expansion of coverage of telehealth services. 

3 Untapped High Value Technologies in Senior Housing

On April 18, 2017 by Jodi Boyne

A new report from the American Seniors Housing Association has identified three untapped technologies in senior living that can increase resident satisfaction and attract more business. 

Broader Adoption of Telehealth to Improve Quality Care and Services

On April 17, 2017 by Jodi Boyne

Improving or maintaining quality care is the main driver behind telehealth adoption, according to a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). However, barriers such as payment and Medicare coverage restrictions are preventing broader adoption of technology-driven service delivery.  

Early Action Encouraged for SNFs Seeking Federal Telecommunications or Broadband Funding

On January 17, 2017 by Jonathan Lips

Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) may now begin the process to obtain funding under the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Rural Healthcare Program, which provides discounts for telecommunications services and broadband access to eligible healthcare providers. 

Funding Available to Help Care Centers Reduce Costs of Telecommunications and Broadband

On January 11, 2017 by Jodi Boyne

New funding is available to help care centers reduce their costs of telecommunications and broadband. A webinar on Jan. 17, sponsored by the Rural Health Care Program, will provide members with more information on this funding, which could help them save an average of 65 percent on eligible services. 

Impact of 21st Century CURES Bill on LeadingAge Minnesota Members

On January 4, 2017 by Jodi Boyne

While much of the media coverage on the 21st Century CURES bill signed into law last month by President Obama focused on significant investments to find a cure for Alzheimer’s and cancer, there are some provisions in the bill that impact LeadingAge Minnesota members. 

Included in the legislation are initiatives designed to expand the use of telehealth, provide Medicare coverage for home infusion therapy, required mandatory use of electronic visit verification for personal care and home health services, and changes to the hospital readmission reduction program.

  • Telehealth Services: CMS is required to provide a report on the populations of Medicare beneficiaries whose quality and efficiency of care may be improved by the expansion of telehealth services. The report must include information on any ongoing telehealth demonstration projects, the types of services that might be suitable for the use of telehealth and an explanation of barriers that are currently being faced regarding telehealth under current Medicare laws. 
  • Medicare Coverage for Home Infusion Therapy: The bill includes a new home infusion therapy benefit to begin in 2021 that will require a plan of care by a physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant as well as requiring a pharmacy, physician, or other provider of services, which includes a home health or hospice agency, to provide the home infusion therapy. The bill also includes a mandatory 20 percent copay for home infusion therapy by Medicare beneficiaries as well as the exclusion of the term “home infusion therapy” from the definition of “home health services.”
  • Mandatory Use of Electronic Visit Verification: State Medicaid programs are required to implement an electronic visit verification for personal care and home health care services. States that do not comply will face financial penalties.
  • Changes the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program: The U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services is required to implement a transitional risk adjustment methodology to serve as a proxy of socio-economic status for the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program, including the clarification that the proxy should only apply to a hospital’s Medicare population. In addition to the transitional adjustment, the Secretary can permanently use a more refined methodology following the analysis required by the Improving Medicare Post Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act of 2014. 

Franken Introduces Legislation to Strengthen Health Care in Rural Communities

On November 22, 2016 by Jodi Boyne

U.S. Senator Al Franken last week introduced a bipartisan proposal to strengthen how hospitals and health providers in rural communities deliver care to their patients. The legislation, Craig Thomas Rural Hospital and Provider Equity Act (R-HoPE) would: 

Care Centers Now Eligible for Reduced Rates for Telecommunications, Broadband Access

On September 7, 2016 by Jodi Boyne

Care centers may be able to save an average of 65 percent on telecommunications and broadband services, thanks to a new law passed by Congress in June.

Faster Connections: Big News in Broadband for Rural Care Centers

On June 22, 2016 by Jodi Boyne

Care centers in rural communities will soon be able to apply for federal funds to help pay for broadband services as a result of federal legislation expected to be signed into law.

A Call to Action: Healthy Aging Requires More Affordable Housing

On June 8, 2016 by Jodi Boyne

A new report from the Bipartisan Policy Congress, Healthy Aging Begins at Home, predicts an inadequate supply of affordable housing for seniors unless major infrastructure and policy changes are made.

Advocacy Alert: Tell Congress to Support Aging Services Technologies

On April 6, 2016 by Jodi Boyne

There are several bills before Congress that would advance technology solutions, such as Internet access, remote monitoring and telehealth, to help older adults age more independently in their homes. We need you to contact your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative to tell them to support four bills:

APPLY TODAY: USDA Accepting Applications for Rural Telemedicine Grants

On January 19, 2016 by Danielle Salisbury

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is now accepting applications for grants to help rural health care providers provide telemedicine in their communities. The grants, which are provided by the Rural Utilities Service Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program, range from $50,000 to $500,000 and can be used for equipment and technical assistance.

Federal Update: Budget Deal Reached, Adult Day Legislation Advances

On December 16, 2015 by Jodi Boyne

As the year comes to an end, Congress is working on finalizing details of the 2016 Omnibus Spending Bill and we are seeing some progress in the advancement of legislation that would specifically benefit adult day services providers.

LeadingAge Urges Senate Action on Telecommunications Legislation

On December 16, 2015 by Kari Thurlow

In a letter to every member of the U.S. Senate, Larry Minnix, President and CEO of LeadingAge, urged support for the Rural Health Care Connectivity Act when it comes to a vote on the floor. 

Permanent Doc Fix Bill Contains Telehealth Provisions

On April 22, 2015 by Jodi Boyne

The permanent doc fix bill (H.R. 2) approved by Congress contained some provisions for a study of the use of telehealth and remote patient monitoring.

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