Our 2018 Innovation Report noted that health systems will be identifying and implementing telehealth strategies in the near-future. We focus on investing industry-first: researching what the market needs, then deploying innovation to advance those goals. We talked with four of our portfolio companies to see how they are engaging with the proposed changes.
The telehealth industry has seen significant activity; July 12th broke news that the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services proposed changes to telehealth billing, a standard created in the 1990s. Initially, the application for telehealth struggled to get off the ground. Today, there are few reimbursement codes that are piecemeal approved for telehealth services. This change would allow reimbursement for primary clinicians (MDs) and clinical liaisons (RNs, NPs etc) to adopt telemedicine to their workflow.
“Access to medical care is limited due to clinician availability, resident location, inefficiencies of transportation services, and communication breakdown. Telemedicine has proven to be a great equalizer amidst these barriers, “ Dr. Robert Moskowitz, Chief Medical Officer at Satchel Health (JSF ’14) said. Telemedicine effectively disrupts these inefficiencies in geriatric arenas and where Satchel Health operates. Satchel Health presents a web-based program that encourages any provider to access their patients without the need for movement of the resident, physician, or family.
Telehealth can help alleviate challenges by allowing patients to have follow-up visits with their PCP across state borders, in-home, and/or without needing access to transportation. Additional applications can be applied to substance abuse and behavioral health.
Behavioral health has justifiably received considerable attention lately. The expansion of reimbursement could increase accessibility to these services, such as Level Therapy (JSF ’18), an app-based platform for integrated behavioral health care.
Our portfolio companies are optimistic, “CMS recent proposals for the 2019 are taking steps in the right direction. They recognize the limitations imposed on the patient population they serve by restraining reimbursement,” Dr. Moskowitz said.
A gaming platform for managing chronic health conditions, Litesprite (JSF ’17) , would see direct benefits by expanded CPT codes, “The proposed changes would certainly accelerate the adoption of our gaming solutions by increasing the reimbursement our providers can receive. It will drive adoption of new technologies like ours,” CEO and Founder Swatee Surve contributed.
Sean Elwell, Director of Telehealth at Presbyterian Healthcare Systems and Chairman of Care.it, a telehealth platform, (JSF ’15 ) is lobbying on behalf of large health systems to make changes to the regulations. Sean hopes to see telehealth as an approved and equivalent modality of care fully integrated with large EHR providers.
We are excited about the momentum and those engaged in the movement. We have invested time and capital into Satchel Health, Care.it, Level Therapy, and Litesprite. Jumpstart looks forward to seeing the future of telehealth and the positive implications on our portfolio companies.