MHA Today | August 18, 2017

August 18, 2017

MHA Today: News for Healthcare Leaders

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MHA Today is provided as a service to members of the Missouri Hospital Association. Additional information is available online at MHAnet.


Herb Kuhn, MHA President & CEO
Earlier this week, MHA released a report on the status of telemedicine in Missouri. The good news is that Missouri is well positioned to capitalize on the benefits of telemedicine. And, with attention to the policies that promote wider adoption, telemedicine could be a powerful tool in addressing access problems — especially in rural Missouri.

Let me say upfront, that telemedicine shouldn’t be viewed as a low-cost alternative to in-person care. It may, over time, help the health care system and patients reduce costs. Presently, the greatest promise of telemedicine is in its capacity to extend and improve care, and allow for innovation in care delivery.

Telemedicine is poised for significant growth. Researchers found that between 2014 and 2016, the use of telemedicine services within the MO HealthNet program grew by 17 percent from year to year. Unfortunately, the sum of all MO HealthNet telemedicine visits during the survey period was approximately 1,700. There’s a lot of room for growth and scale.

Telemedicine in Missouri The state’s telemedicine policy for MO HealthNet and commercial insurance helped the state earn a “B” grade from the American Telehealth Association. The MO HealthNet rules on telemedicine are expanding eligible provider types and venues for telemedicine, thereby expanding the opportunity to deliver additional services in more convenient places for patients and practitioners. This is the right signal to send for a state that has significant rural-urban disparities in health status and health care access.

MHA researchers surveyed rural hospitals and found that more than half of survey participants already use telemedicine. Of the hospitals who are actively using the technology, most are affiliated with a hospital system. Nonetheless, more than 80 percent of the rural hospitals that completed the survey indicated that telemedicine helped them retain patients within their community.

The need for access to primary, specialty and behavioral care in rural Missouri is great. However, to take root broadly, telemedicine must have the right incentives to participate, the right staffing at the originating and distant site, and access to broadband.

Among major payers, MO HealthNet’s reimbursement policy is the most progressive for telemedicine. In addition, Missouri’s commercial insurers are required to cover telemedicine if they cover the the service for in-person care. However, there’s no requirement for commercial insurers to pay a facility fee, and insurers are looking for signals from MO HealthNet on the future of the service. Medicare is the most proscriptive among the large payers, with specific beneficiaries, services and locations designated.

Although the ability to augment clinical capacity in rural hospitals holds promise for mitigating access challenges, certain technology and clinical staff are required to operate the system effectively. Since distance is irrelevant to telemedicine, removing artificial barriers like state-specific licensure could grow the availability of practitioners. Many states are involved in interstate compacts that facilitate telemedicine. Missouri is not.

Finally, broadband is essential. All Missouri hospitals are linked to broadband connections. However, rural communities generally have a lower rate of broadband access communitywide. Missouri has committed to expanding broadband, through state-federal and public-private partnerships. The wider the access to broadband, the better opportunity for telemedicine penetration.

The challenges for rural hospitals and health care are many. Telemedicine will not, on its own, solve the problems of rural health. However, it is a promising example of state policy and technology working in parallel to create opportunity for rural health access.

Let me know what your experience has been with telemedicine, and always feel free to drop me a note to let me know what you’re thinking.

Herb Kuhn, MHA President & CEO

Herb B. Kuhn
MHA President and CEO

In This Issue
CMS Releases Hospital-Specific Reports For Clinical EBP Measures
CMS Announces IQR Education Session

Quality and Population Health

CMS Releases Hospital-Specific Reports For Clinical EBP Measures

Staff Contact: Sherry Buschjost

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released hospital-specific reports for the claims-based clinical episode-based payment measures. The HSRs are provided for informational purposes only and will not be posted on Hospital Compare this year. Access to the HSRs is available on the QualityNet Secure Portal until Saturday, Sept. 16. Details are available.

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CMS Announces IQR Education Session

Staff Contact: Sherry Buschjost

An outreach and education session for hospitals participating in the Inpatient Quality Reporting Program has been scheduled at 1 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 31. The webinar, “Clinical Episode-Based Payment Measures,” will provide an overview of the CEBP measures and hospital-specific reports, and include the goals, measure methodology and how to perform CEBP measure calculations. Registration is required.

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Did You Miss An Issue Of MHA Today?

August 17, 2017
Missouri Times Corrects CON Article Error
IRS Revokes Hospital’s Tax Exempt Status
MLN Connects Provider eNews Available
MHA Provides Free HAI Prevention Bootcamps
CMS Announces IPFQR Education Session
HealthCurve Analytics And SpectraMedix Host MIPS/APM Webinar

August 16, 2017
Telemedicine Report Examines Policies And Status In Missouri
New Report Assesses Medicare Financing And Solvency
Subcommittee Proposes CON Policy Change
MO HealthNet Updates Retail Pharmacy Reimbursement Limits
CBO Estimates Cutting ACA Payments Would Increase Marketplace Premiums
CMS Releases Proposed Rule To Change CJR, Cancel EPMs And CR
CMS Announces IQR Education Session

August 15, 2017
CBO Estimates Cutting ACA Payments Would Increase Insurance Premiums
CMS Releases Proposed Rule To Change CJR And Cancel EPMs And CR
AHRQ Releases 2016 Quality And Disparities Report
HIDI Releases Management And Productivity Report

August 14, 2017
CMS Proposes Cancellation Of Episode Payment Models
HQR Monthly News Blast Available
HIDI HealthStats — Population Health

Consider This ...

Hacking related data breaches in health care are increasing, with 162 percent more incidents so far this year over all of last year.

Source: Modern Healthcare