What’s new?

  • In 2018, prior to the finalization of the merger, Presence Health sponsored House Bill 5070 to broaden the definition of providers who can provide telehealth in the State of Illinois as well as a second bill, House Bill 5351, which will require existing telehealth insurance coverage to include licensed dietitian nutritionists and certified diabetic educators for seniors to receive care in their homes.  Representative Patti Bellock (R) is the author of both.
  • Both House Bill 5070 and House Bill 5351 were signed into law and go into effect on January 1, 2019.
  • In 2017, Presence Health sponsored House Bill 2907, and a companion measure SB 2069, to remove the requirement that a licensed health professional be in the room for an entire tele-psychiatry visit in order for the provider to be reimbursed by Medicaid.  Representative Patti Bellock (R) authored the bill the House and Senator Pat McGuire in the Senate (D).
  • House Bill 2907 was signed by the Governor and took effect on January 1, 2018.
  • The Illinois Telehealth Initiative, sponsored by a Partnership for a Connected Illinois, awarded Presence Health a leadership award for its work to remove barriers to Medicaid payment in tele-psychiatry in 2017.

What’s the issue?

  • Telehealth is an effective way to provide needed health care services to people in medically underserved areas especially rural areas and in areas where accessibility to specialty care is needed.
  • Telehealth, also referred to as telemedicine, provides real-time, two-way interactive video and audio communication between patients and physicians or other health care providers, who are often at a distant site.
  • AMITA Health has been a leader in developing and providing telehealth services since 2005, and is currently utilizing proven systems to provide telemedicine in several critical areas of need, including:
    • providing psychiatry and behavioral health services.
    • monitoring patients in intensive care units (Tele-ICU).
    • minimizing the damage caused by strokes (Telestroke).
    • coordinating care teams as patients are discharged (Warm Nursing Handoff).
    • preventing falls and providing support for hospitalized patients (Remote sitter) and at-risk individuals (Lifeline).

Why does it matter?

  • Telehealth is cost-efficient. It allows AMITA Health to continue providing the highest quality of health care to everyone in the communities we serve.
  • Telehealth allows specialists, like psychiatrists, neurologists or critical care physicians, to take care of patients in areas where there are not enough specialists.
  • Physicians, advanced practice nurses and specially trained health care professionals can provide remote monitoring, treatment and support that lets people get the care they need, when they need it, in their own community.

What is the AMITA Health perspective?

  • Parity in payment and reimbursement to improve access. Currently, private, for-profit insurance companies can decide whether or not to cover telehealth services. Medicaid covers telehealth but only with additional regulatory and operational burdens. If these additional requirements are not met, then Medicaid will not reimburse. Finally, Illinois does not require parity in payment.
  • AMITA Health wants to reduce barriers to telehealth. We have worked with members of the State Legislature to remove barriers to Medicaid reimbursement of tele-psychiatry. Additionally, we would like to see Medicare loosen its restrictions on where telehealth can be delivered. There are access issues not only in rural areas but also where specialists are hard to find.
  • Telehealth is a mode of health care delivery. Telehealth is not a separate and distinct service, rather a modality that enables providers to deliver already-covered care in away that improves health and lowers the cost of care without increasing utilization (Alliance of Community Health Plans).
  • Expanding telehealth helps meet Illinois’ patient needs. AMITA Health supported the State of Illinois’ CMS 1115 Waiver proposal to improve its Medicaid program through the development of a statewide specialty telemedicine network.  Currently, we are piloting a project with Proviso Township’s 708 Board to provide online psychiatry and behavioral health services in Proviso Township, where there is a shortage of psychiatrists and other mental health providers. Untreated behavioral health conditions can dramatically disrupt the lives of families, reduce workplace productivity and drive up health care costs by increasing utilization. It is vitally important that we reduce the barriers that prevent individuals from seeking the care they need.

AMITA Health Resources

Materials developed by AMITA Health to help you understand, communicate and engage on issues important to health care and our ministry.

House Bill 5351 Telehealth, Diabetes and Seniors

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House Bill 5070 Telehealth Providers Fact Sheet

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Presence Health Telehealth Award Video

How Presence Health cracked the code on Telehealth

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External Resources

Information from third-party organizations that can be resources for you to continue to learn about the issues at hand.

National Journal State of Telehealth Legislation

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Presence Health Receives Partnership for a Connected Illinois Award for Excellence in Telehealth Leadership

Presence Health, one of the largest Catholic healthcare systems in Illinois, has been awarded the Improved Policy Changes to Advance Telehealth Award as announced today by the Partnership for Connected Illinois (PCI). This PCI award is given to organizations or individuals demonstrating leadership in promoting and advocating for improved telehealth policies, laws and regulations in Illinois

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Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti on TeleHealth Services at Presence Health

Telehealth saves lives and reduces the cost of care. It improves healthcare access for rural communities, which is what brought me to Presence Covenant Medical Center in Urbana, Illinois today. From Tele-stroke to Tele-ICU, the Presence health system has fully embraced this innovative technology.

Telehealth Telemedicine + View Resource

Featured News

Featured news includes articles from multiple viewpoints and is designed to keep you abreast of the current debate around this issue. This information should not be construed as our point of view.

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How Presence Health cracked the code on telehealth

Critical care nurse Yvonne Kriston is monitoring a patient in the ICU at one of Presence Health’s 11 hospitals when her pager buzzes with an ...

Crain's Chicago Business Journal + September 24, 2016 + View Article