I know this story is about Arkansas, not Minnesota but I know Minnesota was looking at a similar law last year. And sometimes it’s nice to learn from the sidelines. The Washington Post reports…
This summer, Arkansas became the first state to require poor people to prove they’re employed to receive Medicaid.
Specifically, recipients need to work 80 hours a month to get Medicaid…
More than 12,000 have been purged from the state Medicaid rolls since September — and not necessarily because they’re actually failing to work 80 hours a month, as the state requires.
The article tells the story of two recipients who lost their insurance because they didn’t have access and/or understanding of technology required to report hours and the rules behind the measure…
The state made reporting online-only to avoid hiring more staff. (It also didn’t allocate any additional dollars to help enrollees find work.) Officials did this even though Arkansas has the lowest level of household Internet access in the country, and the online portal doesn’t work well on smartphones. Once, when I tried it, I got an error message saying my phone’s browser was “not compatible.” The next day, it was mysteriously compatible again.
Most indefensibly, the website shuts down every single night between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. for “scheduled maintenance.”
No wonder 80 percent of those required to report work hours or exemptions each month are reporting nothing at all.
It reminds me of working on the library reference desk when Government Docs moved most of their documents online. It saved a lot of money in terms of printing for Government Docs but it suddenly meant most people had to go to the library to access these documents. It made a lot more work for the library and even more so the users of users of the info.
Broadband and technology can be a great way to cut costs but only when everyone has access to it and skills to use it.
MHealth Intelligence reports on policies that will smooth the path to more telehealth usage…
More than 3,000 US physicians have received permission to practice in multiple states through the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, giving them the opportunity to expand their practice through telehealth and telemedicine.
According to the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Commission, a branch of the Federation of State Medical Boards, 3,426 medical licenses have been by medical boards in member states since the launch of the Compact in April 2017. The IMLCC, meanwhile, has processed 1,867 applications and 497 licenses have been renewed through the compact.
Minnesota part of the compact…
Launched as a means of expediting the licensure process for physicians looking to practice in more than one state, the compact has been approved in the District of Colombia, Guam and 24 states: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Craig Settles has a new report on telehealth and broadband. Here’s the briefest description…
The bulk of the report gives three categories innovative and eﬀective telemedicine applications: 1) general medical services, 2) mental health services, and 3) home health care. The summaries present how or why these are ideal to oﬀer community broadband subscribers. The report concludes with highlights on developing a telemedicinenpilot project, and helpful recommendations.
He discusses affordability…
The digital divide’s impact is that many low-‐income and lower middle class residents do not have internet access available, and so by extension they will have a hard time getting telehealth. Signiﬁcant numbers of these individuals can’t aﬀord access even if broadband reaches their neighborhoods. And if the infrastructure is poor, even well to-‐do folks cannot get good broadband.
He discusses how partnerships are built between broadband providers and telehealth services…
Bottom line – both the vendors, particularly start-‐ups and medium size companies, and broadband owners share a mission – the need for plenty of customers and marketing clout. In addition, many of these organizations and committed to serving committed to serving communities’ disadvantaged and the low-come income residents, so there’s a shared social as well as marketing mission.
And how partnerships can improve digital inclusion efforts…
To design the most eﬀective digital literacy program, Seifer advises broadband and telehealth teams to consult with those community nonprofits most familiar wit the audiences that will use the telehealth programs. “If you’re trying to reach veterans with a telemedicine app, contact local or state organizations that service veterans that service veterans. If you are selling to seniors, talk to groups that deal with that population.”
Purdue University just released a report that looks at the quantitative benefits of investing in broadband – they look specifically at extending/expanding networks deployed by Indiana’s Rural Electric Member Cooperatives (REMCs) – but expanding the network ubiquitously across the state. Here’s what they found…
We estimate the net benefits of broadband investment for the whole state of Indiana is about $12 billion, which is about $1 billion per year annuitized over 20 years at six percent interest rate. Year after year, added government revenues and cost savings would amount to about 27 percent of net benefits in the seven REMCs each year. If the rest of rural Indiana is like these seven Cooperative service areas, then 27 percent of the $1 billion per year would be government revenue and health care cost savings, or $270 million per year. In terms of total net present value of benefits, 27 percent of $12 billion is $3.24 billion in added government revenue and health care cost savings.
It’s interesting to see that 27 percent of the net benefits would be government revenue and health care cost savings. That’s a number taxpayers can use to determine the return of public investment in broadband. Last fall, I looked at community return on public investment in broadband – which came to about $1,850 per household. Taking it a step farther, figuring out how much benefit is there in government revenue and health care savings make it even easier to balance cost with benefit.
The Rural Broadband Association (NTCA) surveyed anchor institutions in their members’ service areas about their connectivity. Here are some of the things they learned:
- Fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) was the most prevalent connection mode for all anchor institution types.
- The maximum connection speed of broadband available to anchor institutions in the ILECs’ service areas averaged around 1 Gig (1 Gig = 1,000 Mbps/1 Gbps), except for public libraries where the average maximum connection speed available was less than 500 Mbps.
- The average connection speed of broadband purchased by anchor institutions in the responding companies’ ILEC service areas was the highest for K–12 schools (238.7 Mbps) and the lowest for public libraries (43.3 Mbps).
- For anchor institutions that are not connected via fiber, the average distance of those institutions from fiber facilities was 4.1 miles and the median distance was 0.6 miles. Approximately six in 10 of those institutions (59.4%) are less than a mile away from fiber facilities, while just over one-third (34.4%) are located between one and 20 miles from fiber facilities.
- More than four in 10 respondents (41.3%) indicated that public libraries in their ILEC service areas had access to a maximum broadband speed of 1 Gig or more. For approximately one-half of the respondents (48.9%), public libraries had maximum broadband speed available ranging from 25.0 Mbps to less than 1 Gig. A very small percentage (2.2%) reported that connected public libraries in their service areas had access to a maximum speed of less than 10.0 Mbps
- More than half of the responding companies (55.6%) had hospitals and medical clinics in their ILEC service areas with access to a maximum broadband speed of 1 Gig or more, and about one-fifth (22.2%) reported that hospitals and medical clinics in their ILEC service areas had access to a maximum speed greater than/equal to 100 Mbps but less than 1 Gig. The slowest maximum broadband speed available to connected health care providers, as reported by 6.3% of respondents, was greater than/equal to 10.0 Mbps but less than 25.0 Mbps.
NTCA represents nearly 850 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America
It would be great to see some projects spring up in Minnesota. We have some awesome healthcare minds – just imagine what could happen…
FCC SEEKS COMMENTS ON LAUNCHING
TELEHEALTH PILOT PROGRAM
Highlights the Benefits of Broadband to Deliver ‘Connected Care Everywhere’
WASHINGTON, August 2, 2018—The Federal Communications Commission today took steps to explore the creation of an experimental “Connected Care Pilot Program” to support the delivery of advanced telehealth services to low-income Americans.
The Commission’s top priority is bridging the digital divide, and nowhere is that more critical than in the area of health care. Today, whether it’s through remote patient monitoring or mobile health applications accessed via smartphones, tablets, or other devices, advances in broadband-enabled telehealth technologies are allowing patients to receive care wherever they are. These connected care services can lead to better health outcomes and significant cost savings for patients and health care providers alike. But many low-income consumers, particularly those living in rural areas, lack access to affordable broadband and might not be able to realize these benefits.
Through today’s Notice of Inquiry (NOI), the Commission seeks comment on creating a Universal Service Fund pilot program to promote the use of broadband-enabled telehealth services among low-income families and veterans, with a focus on services delivered directly to patients beyond the doors of brick-and-mortar health care facilities.
The NOI seeks comment on:
- The goals of, and statutory authority for, the pilot program.
- The design of the pilot program, including the budget; the application process and types of telehealth pilot projects that should be funded; eligibility criteria for participating health care providers, broadband service providers, and low-income consumers; the broadband services and other communications services and equipment that should be supported; the amount of support and how it should be disbursed; and the duration of the program.
- How to measure the effectiveness of pilot projects in achieving the goals of the program.
Today’s decision reflects the Commission’s continued commitment to supporting broadband connectivity for those facing barriers to high-quality health care and to maximizing the benefits of telehealth for all Americans through enhanced digital access.
Action by the Commission August 2, 2018 by Notice of Inquiry (FCC 18-112). Chairman Pai, Commissioners O’Rielly, Carr, and Rosenworcel approving and issuing separate statements.
WC Docket No. 18-213