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NEWS: VSSL Collaborates with the Washington State Health Care Authority

In a new collaboration between VSSL and the Washington State Health Care Authority, lab members will work with a team at the HCA to evaluate telehealth use in the Covid-19 era, with a focus on health care payment and delivery.

In conjunction with a team at the HCA, this collaborative body of work will be led by VSSL members Drs. Joshua Liao and Ashok Reddy. The work consists of several parts. In the first, Drs. Liao and Reddy led the creation of a report describing work done by the HCA in the Medicaid program to implement telehealth in the earliest phase of the pandemic. As outlined in the report:

"Covid-19 has created immense health care disruption in Washington state and beyond. Like others across the country, providers and payers in Washington responded to these pressures by turning toward telehealth. To promote these changes and create flexibility, national and local payers relaxed telemedicine and telehealth requirements.
The Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) made this transition in WA Medicaid by building upon established telehealth policies. This work included policies related to payment parity, primary and specialty care coordination, and the use of telehealth for specific types of care and the care of specific populations. To complement these policies, HCA also made direct patient- and provider-oriented investments in telehealth-related technology and focused on clinical implementation.
Collectively, these policy changes, technology investments, and implementation support efforts drove significant adoption of telehealth in the early phase of the pandemic. They also represent early groundwork for a broader telehealth payment and care delivery policy agenda for WA Medicaid."

Drs. Liao and Reddy go on to note that this "agenda is needed because questions remain about how to best implement telehealth in WA Medicaid beyond the early stages of the pandemic. For instance, more work is needed to understand the policy and care delivery implications of the timing of telehealth implementation; the use of telehealth in different care settings; the role of service type and organizational factors on the use and impact of telehealth."

Read the full report here.

In the second, forthcoming part of this VSSL x HCA collaboration, Drs. Liao and Reddy will work with HCA leaders to conduct quantitative analyses of telehealth use, with the goal of informing future payment and delivery policy.

Follow the #VSSLviews blog, or the Lab on Twitter, for future updates on this work. Learn more about Dr. Liao's work or follow him on Twitter.


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