By Ann Unitas
I represented Apollo at the annual HIMSS Policy Summit. The event included a variety of viewpoints including Members of Congress, vendors and illustrious public servants such as Karen DeSalvo, National Coordinator for Health IT.
A vital part of the event, attended by HIMSS members from virtually every state, is to convey the urgency of several issues addressing the necessity of advancing health through the best use of information technology to our Representatives on the Hill. I visited the offices of Senator Tim Kaine, Senator Mark Warner, and Representative Jim Moran on what happened to be the last day of the legislative session. Issues discussed included the need for a six month review of how HHS-administered requirements and program changes are administered, sometimes differently, and their real impact on patients and providers; funding the National Coordinator for Health IT to a level sufficient to meet today’s challenges; and Congressional funding to meet the real potential of Telehealth.
The last issue is the one on which Apollo can have a major impact. Telehealth today is reimbursed haphazardly across the country, and almost exclusively applies to face-to-face care delivery. This method is only a small part of the Telehealth spectrum, and Ann urged lawmakers to consider the positive impact on patient care, cost reduction, and access that Apollo EPMM could bring to facilitate communication, provide the whole picture of the patient to remote providers, and in ways yet to be explored.