Health Information Technology
The Chicago Tribune recently published test results indicating that some cellphones can emit radiation causing exposure up to five times higher than current limits allow. This shocking data comes on the heels of the government of France’s revelations that phones emit radiation between four and 11 times their allowable limits. For more than a decade, the Federal Communications Commission has knowingly relied on unrealistic test methods to evaluate radiofrequency radiation from a single phone selected for testing by major manufacturers.
Access to health care is a critical problem in many rural areas of the United States. Few physicians choose to practice in rural counties, according to the National Rural Health Association, yet the rural population is, on average, older and more in need of medical care. Census Bureau data show that 18 percent of the rural population is age 65 or older, compared with 13 percent in urban areas. Rural clinics and hospitals are consolidating or closing, leaving people to drive long distances to see doctors. Policymakers are counting on telemedicine to fill in the gaps.
The Federal Communications Commission reformed the Rural Health Care Program (RHC) aiming to ensure limited program funds are disbursed efficiently and equitably, promote transparency and predictability in the program’s administration, and strengthen safeguards against waste, fraud, and abuse. The action takes a number of steps to reform the distribution of RHC funding, in particular by revising the rules governing the Telecom Program to simplify calculation of the urban rate—the amount health care providers pay—and the rural rate—the amount that service providers receive.
Broadband access today is as varied as communities across Minnesota. Some enjoy a gig, others are working hard for any service, and the rest are somewhere in between. This conference is for all communities, regardless of where they are on the spectrum – because we’ve learned that having broadband isn’t enough. It takes inspiration, encouragement and guidance to reap the full benefits. We’ll be talking about how to make the most of what you’ve got and/or get more.
This year’s conference will shine a light on local broadband heroes as well as look at several aspects of broadband:
The Limitations of Poor Broadband Internet Access for Telemedicine Use in Rural America: An Observational Study
Fewer than 10% of US physicians practice in rural communities, where 25% of Americans live. Yet, rural Americans may need more health care as they become increasingly older and sicker relative to their urban counterparts. Telemedicine has been proposed as a solution to improve access to care. Federal and state policymakers have enacted policies to expand telemedicine use among publicly and commercially insured beneficiaries. However, whether Americans with the poorest access to care have the necessary broadband Internet capability to fully benefit from telemedicine is unknown.
With this Order, the Federal Communications Commission takes necessary steps to provide full funding for all eligible services requested from the Rural Health Care universal service support mechanism (RHC Program) for the 2018 funding year (FY). In FY 2018, multi-year and upfront payment funding requests filed during the window sought support exceeding the $150 million funding cap for those payments. FCC rules would require the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to prorate requested support received by eligible health care providers.
As the 116th Congress begins, policymakers on both sides of the aisle are looking for technology-enabled solutions to lower health costs and spur better outcomes for patients.
The 2-day meeting will gather approximately 1,200 health IT partners and will include a combination of plenaries and breakout sessions each day. The plenary sessions will include keynote addresses and panel discussions.
See full agenda https://www.healthit.gov/news/events/onc-2018-annual-meeting
Rural Health Care (RHC) Program participants have been asking a lot of questions over the last few months - both about the uncertain future of the program and about FY2018 funding requests. But the biggest question of all for FY2018 applicants is simply, "When will I know if my funding has been approved?"