On May 3, 2017, the Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies for Health Act of 2017 (S. 2016) (CONNECT Act of 2017) was reintroduced by the same six senators who had initially introduced the legislation in early 2016 and referred to the Senate Committee on Finance. As we previously reported on February 29, 2016, this iteration of the proposed bill also focuses on promoting cost savings and quality care under the Medicare program through the use of telehealth and remote patient monitoring (RPM) services, and incentivizing such digital health technologies by expanding coverage for them under the Medicare program — albeit using different terminology.
Marshall E. Jackson, Jr. focuses his practice on transactional and regulatory counseling for clients in the health care industry, as well as advises clients on the legal, regulatory and compliance aspects of digital health. Marshall provides counseling and advice to hospitals and health systems, private equity firms and their portfolio companies, post/sub-acute providers, physician practices, and other public and private health care companies in a variety of complex transactions and health regulatory compliance matters. Read Marshall Jackson's full bio.
Shelby Buettner, Marshall Jackson, Jr., Lisa Schmitz Mazur and Dale Van Demark wrote this bylined article on a proposed US Senate bill to expand Medicare’s coverage of telehealth services. The bill would require the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to test the effectiveness of telehealth models, and cover through the Medicare program those models that meet criteria for effectiveness, cost and quality improvement.
On December 14, 2016, President Obama signed the Expanding Capacity for Health Outcomes Act (S. 2873) (the ECHO Act). The ECHO Act seeks to expand the use of health care technology and programming to connect underserved communities and populations with critical health care services.
The ECHO Act builds upon the University of New Mexico’s world-renowned Project ECHO by encouraging the broader development and use of technology-enabled collaborative learning and care delivery models by connecting specialists with multiple other health care professionals through simultaneous interactive videoconferencing for the purpose of facilitating case-based learning, disseminating best practices and evaluating outcomes.
The ECHO Act requires the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to study technology-enabled collaborative learning and capacity building models, and the impact of those models on (1) certain health conditions (i.e., mental health and substance use disorders, chronic diseases, prenatal and maternal health, pediatric care, pain management, and palliative care), (2) health care workforce issues (e.g., specialty care shortages) and (3) public health programs.
Within two years of the enactment of the ECHO Act, the Secretary of HHS must submit a publically available report to Congress that:
- Analyzes the impact of technology-enabled collaborative learning and capacity building models, including, but not limited to, the impact on health care provider retention, quality of care, access to care and barriers faced by healthcare providers;
- Lists the technology-enabled collaborative learning and capacity building models funded by HHS over the past five years;
- Describes best practices used in adopting these models;
- Describes barriers to adoption of these models and recommends ways to reduce those barriers and opportunities to increase use of these models; and
- Issues recommendations regarding the role of technology-enabled collaborative learning and capacity building models in continuing medical education and lifelong learning, including the role of academic medical centers, provider organizations and community providers in such education and lifelong learning.
The recommendations made in HHS’s report may be used to integrate the Project ECHO model into health systems across the country.
On December 18, 2015, the United States Senate Committee on Finance (the Committee) released a Bipartisan Chronic Care Working Group Policy Options Document, which outlines approaches under consideration to improve the care and treatment of Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic diseases.