March 2016

CT providers wins Medicaid reimbursement for telehealth program

Federally qualified health centers in Connecticut will receive Medicaid reimbursement for a telemedicine program that provides specialist consults to underserved populations, Middletown’s Community Health Center announced.

The approval for the socalled eConsults program is notable because Connecticut is one of the only states where Medicaid doesn’t reimburse telemedicine services. The approval came from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), which regulates Medicaid reimbursements.

“We found eConsults effective at increasing access to specialty care for underserved populations, reducing the need for facetoface specialty care, streamlining specialty referrals and potentially reducing emergency department use,” said Dr. Daren Anderson, director of CHC’s Weitzman Institute, who has been studying eConsults.

Based on Weitzman’s research, Anderson worked with the state Department of Social Services to obtain Medicaid reimbursement for the service. Anderson said in December that CHC had performed more than 800 consultations through the program. Anderson said there are few specialty providers willing to see Medicaid patients, creating a lead time for appointments that can be as long as a year.

“Inadequate access to care is a significant contributor to healthcare disparities, higher rates of disability, and complications in chronic diseases,” he said.

CHC has begun contracting with state and federal agencies, as well as private insurers, to provide eConsults to medically underserved patients across the U.S.

See the original article at the Hartford Business Journal