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Pill Mill Crackdown Endangers Telepsych Program

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, May 29, 2012

I wouldn't be surprised if technology such as robots can be used to facilitate abuse, so it may not be as simple as writing in an exception for the kind of technology discussed here. Legislation has to be thoughtfully written.

But some form of flexibility must be found to save valuable programs such as Mission Hospital's outreach to its isolated, rural population.

At the very least, the legislation must acknowledge the existence of teleconsults in the reimbursable fee schedules in use by Medicare and Medicaid.

When I suggested to Mission Hospital's Castellon that some decision makers would respond more to the money-saving elements of teleconsults than to its life-saving benefits, she echoed a sentiment I hear often: Patients need this technology regardless of how much money it saves.

One child psychiatrist Castellon I spoke with notes that delayed treatment affects her patients "personally, socially, at home, and at school, not only affecting how they see the world, but how their family and school functions."

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