The Federation of State Medical Boards Issues Model Legislation for Interstate practice

The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), a national non-profit representing the 70 medical and osteopathic boards of the U.S. and territories, issued a long-awaited statement on 9/5/14 upon completion of the drafting process for model legislation to create an Interstate Medical Licensure Compact that would speed the process of issuing licenses for physicians who wish to practice in multiple states.

According to the press release, the interstate medical licensure compact model legislation “creates a new process for faster licensing for physicians interested in practicing in multiple states and establishes the location of a patient as the jurisdiction for oversight and patient protections.”

The implications for delivery of telehealth are profound.  As the healthcare landscape becomes broader with both expanded services available due to Internet technology and a diverse integrative practitioner population, the establishment of the location of the patient as the jurisdiction for oversight and protection is of paramount importance.  In this way, the provider can reside in his/her state and consult with people in multiple states.

The compact is voluntary on a state by state basis and for physicians’ participation as well.

Those practices whose specialties are geared toward health promotion, prevention of disease, lifestyle management, mindfulness and stress reduction stand to benefit greatly from the increased exposure that telehealthcare offers. These practices identified in Sec. 5101 of the Affordable Care Act as “integrative healthcare practitioners” are the national healthcare workforce that can now collaborate with their licensed colleagues across state lines in real-time therapeutic partnering. The impact on chronic disease management and the resultant cost savings along with better quality of life are anticipated outcomes.


Telemedicine/telehealth Stakeholders Gear up for Fall Momentum

Which telemedicine bills are likely to gain traction this fall is the ubiquitous question among lobbyists and telehealth advocate groups such as the Integrative Telehealth Alliance and the Integrative Healthcare Policy Consortium.

Telemedicine/telehealth is a niche issue in the healthcare politico arena that is garnering enthusiasm by lobbying groups such as the recently formed Alliance for Connected Care. The leadership here are veterans of the industry, Former Majority Leaders Tom Daschle, Trent Lott and former Senior Sen. John Breaux, whose aim is to enable more telehealth to support new models of care.

POLITICO’s Morning eHealth (9/9/14) quotes Krista Drobac, Exec. Dir. of the Alliance for Connected Care, with a positive forecast relative to one payment model. “We think it’s absolutely possible and likely that we build the evidence and the coalition to completely transform the way telemedicine is looked at by Medicare.”

Players on the field are Reps. Mike Thompson (D-Ca.), Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), Sens.Thad Cochran (R-Miss) and Richard Wicker (R-Miss) whose bills titled the Medicare Telehealth Parity Act of 2014 puts telehealth services under Medicare on the path toward parity with in-person health care visits. This is huge for the Boomer population whose age-related chronic complex diseases present a deterrent to making doctor office visits. Add in the folks with mobility issues, geographic location issues and care-giver compliance issues and we can see that telehealthcare is a reality that must be enacted and enabled.

Sen. Thompson waxes enthusiastic in his press release July 31, 2014: ” Telehealth saves money and helps save lives. By expanding telehealth services, we can make sure the best care and the best treatments are available to all Americans, no matter where they live.”

Sen. Harper added: “Telehealth is one of the most promising aspects of the healthcare field.”

Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt), visionary player, according to his press conference on 9/814, “unveiled bipartisan legislation to build upon the progress of Accountable Care Organizations (ACO’s) in shifting the reimbursement of healthcare providers away from the traditional ” fee for service” model to a focus on improving the health outcomes of patients”. Outstanding concept and music to the ears of long time veterans of integrative healthcare!

Rep. Diane Black (R-Tn) will join Rep. Welch this week to introduce The ACO Improvement Act of 2014. This bill will further improve the incentivizing of health outcomes, increase collaboration between patients (people) and doctors (providers).

Bravo/brava! A notion whose time has come. Validating the relationship between a person and their provider of choice is, indeed, a key to success in health outcomes. Empowering a person to choice and access to care with the provider of their choice will stimulate the collaboration necessary for team effort. Positive outcomes are the result of positively resonant relationships.

And it is all about relationships, folks! So, if you positively resonate with the ideas and action plans of these legislators, let them know! Send a letter of support, follow their lead and get on board.  The train is leaving the station!


New Jersey sets a trend with Telemedicine Parity Bills

Sen. Shirley Turner (D-15) joined the Northeast region trendsetting for access to telemedicine/telehealth.

Sen. Turner introduced bills , S2337 and S 2338, permitting coverage for private insurance, Medicaid and State employee health plans. These bills would prohibit health insurance plans from requiring in-person contact before a telemedicine encounter as a condition of payment.  New Jersey Medicaid’s decision to cover telehealth services in 2013 was the first of its kind in the history of the agency.

Ease of access to their doctor for those people with transportation challenges, movement disorders or complex chronic conditions can now provide an early intervention that should reduce health care costs. Prevention of disease and health promotion will be the natural sequelae of accessible services such as patient education and information prescriptions that telehealth can provide.

Whole medical systems such as Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda will lead the way to safe, natural, affordable health care, thus a healthier population. Licensed providers with these disciplines within their scope of practice may be re-imbursed for services per these bills.

Joining the regional trendsetters , CT, MA, NY, PA and RI , New Jersey now can lay claim to innovation in the healthcare delivery system that will change the paradigm to one of choice, access and empowerment.

Kudos the Sen. Turner and the New Jersey voters!

Worldwide Survey Shows Dr./Smartphone Interaction is a Go!

80% of smartphone users surveyed would rather receive medical advice on mobile devices instead of going to the doctor’s office.

FICO conducted a survey of 2,239 adult smartphone users from the UK, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Turkey and the U.S. which analyzed how consumers prefer to interact with health care providers on mobile devices, online and in-person.

Hands down the doctor/patient interaction via smartphone was their preference. Consultations and annual wellness visits are becoming mainstream in the integrative healthcare world where homeopaths have been practicing via telecommunications systems for years. Accessibility to a provider of natural healthcare is enhanced by the ubiquitous technology available to consumers. We see children in Tibet on a mountaintop with cell phones. Rural inhabitants with little or no access to a medical provider now have a means to communicate and receive treatment over the smartphone.

Licensed practitioners have a challenge to meet in overcoming the hurdle of State Medical Boards allowing doctors to treat only those patients who reside in the State in which the Doctor is licensed. While talks are underway for a Bill to allow MD’s to practice across State lines, it has not yet come to fruition.

Integrative healthcare providers who do not need to be licensed, but whom are nationally certified in their specialty, such as homeopaths, may consult with anyone, anywhere using smartphones.  Information prescriptions that provide natural medicine advice along with diet and lifestyle counseling are taking the lead in the prevention and health promotion realm. According to Stuart Wells, FICO’s chief product and technology officer, “People are especially interested in mobile services that can help them manage their personal health… ”

The leading health care providers in this sector are those who provide integrative healthcare services via telecommunications that frequently engage the consumer with current healthcare advice, reminders of personal health risks, and effective strategies for staying healthy thus avoiding ANY need to “see” the doctor.

Making healthcare about HEALTH , the promotion and maintenance thereof, is the paradigm shift that smartphone users are bringing about on the World stage.