IoT for Mitigation - Telemedicine

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Telemedicine to Avoid Transport of 9-1-1 Requestors to the Hospital
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Team Members GCTC Wireless SuperCluster/Connectivity Covid-19 Task FOrce
Point of Contact Bill Schrier
Participating Municipalities
Contributors
Website
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Description

Many calls to 9-1-1 for medical assistance are not really emergencies which require diagnosis and transport to a hospital emergency room. Such calls can be handled on a routine basis with trips to see a healthcare provider for a visit. In most jurisdictions, firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS) agencies respond to calls to 9-1-1 for medical assistance. (Some jurisdictions contract this to a local hospital or private EMS provider.) Until recently, EMS and Fire-and-Rescue Agencies would not be reimbursed by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for any 9-1-1 call involving a medicare or medicaid patient unless that patient was transported to a hospital. In 2019 CMS, on a pilot program, allowed pilot EMS providers to use telemedicine and receive reimbursement for transport to alternative care locations. During the COVID crisis of 2020, this pilot program is now extended to any EMS agency using telehealth to contact healthcare professionals for alternative treatment options. But EMS agencies need to have telehealth capabilities and arrangements with physicians or other healthcare providers to engage and triage patients.

Challenges

  • The policy of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has been to require transport of a medicare or medicaid patient to a hospital or emergency room (ERs) in order for an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) agency or fire-and-rescue agency to receive reimbursement after responding to a 9-1-1 call for medical assistance.
  • This policy resulted in many unnecessary transports, overburdening both EMS providers and hospital ERs.
  • With the COVID crisis, this situation results in unnecessary exposure of EMS medics and emergency room personnel to potential infection.

Implementation

Examples of Telehealth Apps