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Telehealth Services

The Issue

To best serve a geographically dispersed population of 540,000 residents in 24 counties and across 11,000 square miles of Northern Lower Michigan, Munson Healthcare utilizes a number of telehealth services. 

Recently, we finished a major 3-year telemedicine grant from the United States Department of Agriculture – Rural Utility Service, which enabled us to purchase 19 telemedicine carts that were deployed across a wide area of Northern Michigan  from Beaver Island to St. Ignace to Houghton Lake.  The uses of these carts include but are not limited to: medical student education, patient consults, sexual abuse consults, high-risk obstetrics cases, telemental health consults, and wound care. 

In addition, Munson Healthcare is currently utilizing telehealth services for the Northern Michigan Bleeding Disorders Clinic, Maternal Fetal Medicine, NICU Echocardiograms, Pediatric Child Abuse Clinic, Thoracic Oncology Tumor Board, Patient Consults, Speech Therapy, Transplant Education, Oncology patient Consults, HIV Clinic, Tele-mental health, Home health, Bariatric education, Pediatric Cardiology, Telepsych, Diabetes education, and Hospice Care.

However, despite the number of telehealth services currently under deployment, Munson Healthcare continues to be limited by current Medicare policy from fully integrating telehealth services as needed.

Our Position

Munson Healthcare supports legislation such as the CONNECT for Health Act of 2019, which would allow for increased access to telehealth services for the geographically dispersed patients we serve. 

Specifically, we support the expansion of telehealth for mental health services and emergency medical care, along with the ability to waive restrictions on the use of telehealth during national and public health emergencies and the ability for CMS to waive the rural site of service restrictions that are currently in place.

Munson Healthcare recently wrote to our federal congressional delegation to ask that they co-sponsor the CONNECT for Health Act of 2019. 

We are pleased to report that Congressman Bergman has agreed to co-sponsor this important legislation.