More state laws back telehealth, but many stop short of mandates

From Healthcare Dive:

  • A total of 42 states and Washington, D.C. have passed laws encouraging health insurance plans to cover telehealth services, although the specific provisions in the laws vary, according to a new report from law firm Foley & Lardner.
  • Far fewer states — just 16 — address reimbursement specifically. Of those, ten states have payment parity requiring health insurers pay the same rates for virtual and in-person services, while the remainder set a rate ceiling, floor or outline instructions for negotiating payment rates.
  • When it comes to regulating specific virtual services, 24 states mandate coverage for store-and-forward telehealth, which involves gathering information about a patient and transmitting it to another site typically for consultation with a specialist. Meanwhile, 13 states mandate coverage for remote patient monitoring.

Care collaboration tech helps hospital reduce unnecessary psychiatric ED visits by 78%

From Healthcare IT News:

“By contacting the right case manager when a behavioral health patient presents at the ED, coordinating with case managers, and transitioning the patient to appropriate care in an outpatient setting, we’ve been able to reduce the number of visits from these patients in the ED,” Patel reported.

The program still is growing and taking on new use-cases, but the results the hospital has seen so far are promising.


Rural U.S. sees slower decline in childhood deaths

From Reuters:

Although mortality rates among U.S. infants, children and teens have declined overall in the last two decades, rural kids still face higher odds of death than urban kids, researchers say.

Accidents and suicide are the leading causes of child deaths in rural areas, and both are greater risks for rural than for urban kids, researchers report in a special issue of Health Affairs devoted to health in the rural U.S.