Monday, August 17, 2009

Telemedicine arrives to Medicare


Medicare will pay for a limited number of Part B services that are furnished by a physician or practitioner to an eligible beneficiary via a telecommunications system. For eligible telehealth services, the use of a telecommunications system substitutes for a face-to-face, "hands on" encounter.

Distant Site Practitioners
Practitioners at the distant site who may furnish and receive payment for covered telehealth services (subject to State law) are:
Nurse practitioners (NP);
Physician assistants (PA);
Nurse midwives;
Clinical nurse specialists (CNS);
Clinical psychologists (CP) and clinical

Telehealth Services
As a condition of payment, an interactive audio and video telecommunications system must be used that permits real-time communication between the physician or practitioner at the distant site and the beneficiary at the originating site. Asynchronous "store and forward" technology is permitted only in Federal telehealth demonstration programs conducted in Alaska or Hawaii.
The current list of Medicare telehealth services includes:
n Consultations (CPT codes 99241 – 99255);
n Office or other outpatient visits (CPT codes 99201 – 99215);
n Individual psychotherapy (CPT codes 90804 – 90809);
n Pharmacologic management (CPT code 90862);
n Psychiatric diagnostic interview examination (CPT code 90801);

NC contact:
DCREGION IV – ATLANTA Lana DennisE-mail: Telephone: (404) 562-7379States: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Group Home Manager arrested for taking disabled residents' money

my opinion piece to the Winston Salem Journal that ran the related piece:

RE: this article in your paper:

Group / Family Care Homes' Complaints are Ignored by NC DHHS
by Marsha V. Hammond, PhD Clinical Psychologist

Earlier this year, I was threatened with arrest by the manager of a family care aka group home in Leicester, NC, outside of Asheville. He called the Buncombe County Sheriff's Department when I refused to leave my therapy session when the Supervisor in Charge began to harass me and the client as we were in therapy.

My crime? I was seeing my client for therapy early on a Sunday evening, at his request and as associated with my availability.

I created a paper complaint to the official agency which is within the Department of Health & Human Services, specifically, the Department of Health Services Regulation (DHSR). Indeed, I created over a dozen complaints pertaining to clients' complaints that they were not receiving their $66 (what is left over after all of their checks are utilized by the family care homes) at all or in a timely manner. Neither did residents receive their stimulus checks in a timely manner (as in months out from the payment date). Neither would the family care management participate in any way with me as I attempted to track clients' medications in order to interface with their physicians.

I had a meeting w/ the family care home management at the Buncombe County Department of Social Services in February, 2009. The two local people in Buncombe associated with DHSR did not say a word in over an hour of this meeting which lead nowhere. The family care home continued to police the clients and the clients continued to be afraid of voicing any concerns.

After over six months and a file over an inch thick, I have thrown in the towel as there was very obviously no one at these agencies who was going to attend in any manner at all to the complaints. Lanier Cansler, Secretary of NC DHHS: stop the farce of grading these agencies. Its all chicanery.

Marsha V. Hammond, PhD: Clinical Psychologist, Asheville, NC