The First Responder Network Authority’s Public Safety Advisory Committee recently formed a Strike Team to examine new applications of telehealth in response to the charge by Emergency Medical Services (EMS) leaders to provide the “Right Care, at the Right Time, at the Right Place.”
Telehealth and, in particular, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Emergency Triage, Treat, and Transport (ET3) program are current discussion topics in EMS forums nationwide. That’s according to Chief Jonathan Olson, Wake County, NC, EMS Deputy Director/Chief of Support Services, who’s also a member of the First Responder Network Authority Public Safety Advisory Executive Committee.
Earlier this year, the CMS Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation unveiled the ET3 model for EMS payment. It’s a voluntary five-year model pilot program that will, for the first time, provide payment to an EMS service, after a 911 dispatch, for assessment and treatment in place (TIP) on scene without transport to a hospital Emergency Department (ED) being a necessary part of the process. It also allows for EMS payment for transporting a patient under the same circumstances to an alternative destination rather than a hospital ED.
“This is important because currently, Medicare regulations only allow payment for EMS ground transportation services when individuals are transported to hospitals, critical access hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, or dialysis centers,” Olson said. “Most Medicare patients are thus transported to a hospital, even when a lower acuity destination may more appropriately meet the individual’s needs.”
Olson said FirstNet is uniquely situated to facilitate a key component of the ET3 program—providing TIP using a qualified health care practitioner connected through a telehealth link.
“FirstNet not only meets the minimum criteria, as a dedicated public safety network it also has several features that distinguish it from other standard commercial wireless networks. Key among these differentiators are priority and preemption available to FirstNet subscribers, validated by the FirstNet Authority. This means that the network will always prioritize access by FirstNet subscribers over commercial or other uses in a given area at the same time,” he said.
November 18, 2019
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