By William JA Pinnock
This week’s Link Round Up has a few articles that focus on telemedicine, a splash of community health center information that you will find VERY interesting and maybe (just maybe) a couple bonus articles.
Montana! A beautiful state (and my home state – shout out to Malta, MT). What many probably don’t know about Montana is just how vast and sparsely populated it is. Ranked number 4 in size, Montana is 44th in population. This means that there are wide swaths of the state that have few people and even fewer services. Going to a doctor if you live outside of a metro area could be a trip anywhere from 20 minutes or longer just to get to the city limits (on a good day) to a town with a primary care physician. And if the winter hits and turns the roads to ice or the rains come and turn gravel roads to gummy slop (because there are a lot of gravel roads and people living on gravel roads), then you are not going anywhere. Now…..enter telemedicine. Montana has embraced telemedicine because it allows patients to connect with physicians who are miles and hours away. These are people who may not have sought medical help for ailments or may not have kept up on treatments because the time and distance was too much. Now, with the boom in telemedicine and Montana’s early embrace of it, Montana has decided to put forth House Bill 389 which “allows a Montana physician to establish a doctor-patient relationship through ‘audio-visual interaction or store-and-forward technology’ as well as in-person visits.” The introduction of this bill is to help set practice standards regarding how telemedicine is used. Read more about this bill and my home state of Montana here.
In a promising sign of bi-partisanship, Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Gary Peters (D-MI) have introduced legislation that would “establish a federal model for Medicare populations” regarding telemedicine reimbursements. This bill would allow hospitals that quality to test telemedicine on their populations. Then the Department of Health and Human Services would perform evaluations for “cost, effectiveness, and improvement of health outcomes without increasing the cost of delivery.” Read more about this proposed legislation here.
BIG news for the LGBTQ community in Brooklyn, NY. The Callen-Lorde Community Health Center has signed a 20-year lease at 40 Flatbush Ave Extension where they will be expanding their health services to the LGBTQ community. Read more about the expansion here.
It may not be the “friend-ship” but at least it’s bi-partisanship (agreed, that was a bit of a stretch). In Congress, a proposal to cut funding for biomedical research by 18 percent is being met with strong opposition from both parties in Congress. Read more about this concern over slashing funding for healthcare research here.
What if I told that there was an activity that if you engaged in it regularly, you had a 1 in 10 chance of dying because of it? You probably wouldn’t want to do would you? Probably not. But, research out Thursday shows that that is the number of people who die from smoking related illness. Even more surprising? There are 1 billion people who smoke and half of the deaths from smoking occur in just four countries: China, Russia, India, and the United States. Have I piqued your interest? Would you like to know more? Then follow this link to the BBC.