Several Global Health Initiatives

In the Pacific, the global mortality rate from Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) is 63 percent, with 75 percent of Pacific Islanders dying from NCDs, while traditional threats such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and injuries are also taking a high toll. In addition to the existing grant funding available from the U.S. Government to the Pacific Islands, the U.S is expanding its partnership to include four new initiatives.  (more…)

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CDC Director Speaks at NPC

“Globalization makes it possible for viruses to travel on a plane anywhere in the world which means that health threats can easily make headway in our international environmentally connected air” according to Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) speaking at the National Press Club on September 10th. (more…)

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TELE-MED Act Introduced

The Health IT NOW Coalition’s blog announced that the “TELEmedicine for MEDicare” (TELE MED) Act was just introduced on Capitol Hill by Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ).The Act would allow Medicare providers to treat Medicare patients electronically across state lines without the need to obtain multiple state licenses.

“This bill updates the law to account for rapid technological advances in medicine,” said Congressman Nunes. “By reducing bureaucratic and legal barriers between Medicare patients and their doctors, it expands medical access and choice for America’s seniors and the disabled.”

Joel White, Executive Director of the Health IT Now Coalition, said, “Currently, the benefits of telemedicine are limited by an antiquated system of licensure laws that hinder the practice of medicine across state lines. That means that qualified and credentialed physicians must jump through hoops and hurdles before they can treat patients remotely.”

White added, “Congress has already had success in implementing a national telemedicine framework for members of the Department of Defense and Veterans Administration. This bill will do the same thing for Medicare beneficiaries with the number of beneficiaries expected to rise to 81 million by 2030.

The Health IT NOW Coalition hopes Congress will work together to enact the TELE-MED Act into law so that seniors, the disabled, and taxpayers can all benefit from better healthcare at lower costs.”

In another legislative action, it is expected shortly that a bipartisan bill will be introduced by Representative Greg Harper from Mississippi to help move telehealth and remote monitoring closer to reality.

There are several provisions expected in the bill that will provide for fewer Medicare hospital readmits, provide an optional Medicaid package for high-risk births, provide Medicare bundled payments for a post-acute care pilot using telemedicine, allow ACOs to use telehealth for Medicare Advantage Plans, and provide video consults to facilitate home-based kidney dialysis.

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Funding for HIT in Rural Areas

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced on September 11, 2013 that nearly $5.3 million in grants will help expand the rural health information technology workforce and expand the use of telehealth to improve mental health services for veterans in rural areas. (more…)

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NIH Launches National Registry

NIH has launched DS-Connect at https://dsconnect.nih.gov, a web-based health registry to serve as a national health resource for people with Down syndrome and their families, researchers, and healthcare providers. NIH has applied for trademark protection for the name DS-Connect. (more…)

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GLNT Expanding Telemedicine for PD

Parkinson’s disease, (PD) a neurodegenerative disorder affects over six million people worldwide. Individuals can be affected by tremor, slowed movements, rigidity, and gait abnormalities. Chronic use common therapies to treat motor symptoms often cause a side effect known as dyskinesias, which are involuntary and irregular rapid movements. (more…)

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VA’s Research & Tech Transfer Update

Unlike other Federal agencies, the Veterans Administration (VA) does not have laboratories where the predominant function is research. The VA includes research as part of each Veterans Administration Medical Center (VAMC) which means that each VAMC is considered a Federal laboratory. (more…)

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