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From the Source: HHS Chief Technology Officer Applauds Efforts to Advance Telehealth

Edwin Simcox, Acting Chief Technology Officer for the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), lauded telehealth as an innovation that potentially offers ways to address HHS’s four key priorities.

Speaking yesterday (June 14, 2018) at the Center for Telehealth and e-Health Law (CTel) Spring Summit, Simcox addressed stakeholders in the telehealth industry.

HHS’s key priorities, recently identified by HHS Secretary Alex Azar, are: (1) bringing down the high cost of prescription drugs; (2) transforming the national healthcare system from a fee-based system to a value-based system; (3) addressing the cost and availability of health insurance; (4) and combating the opioid crisis.  In Simcox’s opinion, medication-assisted therapies provided via telehealth may be particularly helpful in addressing the opioid crisis.  He also stated that there is real evidence that telehealth reduces costs, especially for managing chronic conditions.

Simcox cited Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Federal Telehealth Compendium as a worthwhile resource for Telehealth industry stakeholders. The comprehensive compendium includes high-level descriptions of telehealth activities conducted by federal agencies, including HRSA, the Department of Defense, CMS, and FDA. Federal activities listed in the compendium include research, policy development, implementation, adoption, care delivery, and standards/interoperability.

Simcox stated that one barrier to wider telehealth implementation and Medicare reimbursement is the lack of quality data demonstrating its efficacy. He called on telehealth stakeholders to provide HHS with empirical data showing that telehealth improves access to healthcare as well as reduces costs.  According to Simcox, HHS is interested in convening with telehealth stakeholders to discuss how HHS can take a more active role in telehealth.  He encouraged telehealth stakeholders to reach out to HHS, Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation, and CMS to express their opinions.

Arent Fox’s Health Care group regularly monitors speeches and appearances by government officials for valuable insights into government agencies’ activities and key priorities. Arent Fox attorneys also regularly assist clients in developing telemedicine programs that comply with federal and state requirements. 

If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact Douglas Grimm and Hillary Stemple in our Washington, DC office, Tom Jeffry and Sarah Benator in our Los Angeles office or the Arent Fox professional who normally handles your matters.


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