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Monthly Archives

August 2019

FCC Authorizes $4.9 Billion for Rural Broadband

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– BBP Wires (Broadband Communications Magazine)

“WASHINGTON — Taking further steps to close the digital divide, the Federal Communications Commission authorized over $4.9 billion in support over the next decade for maintaining, improving, and expanding affordable rural broadband for 455,334 homes and businesses served by 171 carriers in 39 states and American Samoa, including 44,243 locations on Tribal lands.”

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Can Telemedicine Help Students Stay Healthy?

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– Sara Weissman (Diverse Education)

“The college lifestyle – famous for hectic schedules, late-night study sessions and 2 a.m. pizza – has never gone hand-in-hand with good health. But today’s college students are the least likely generation to go to a primary care doctor. Only 55 percent of Generation Z have a primary care physician, compared to two thirds of millennials and 76 percent of Generation X, according to a 2019 Digital Health Consumer Survey. Meanwhile, a report last year found that 1.7 million college students remain uninsured.”

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Rural Broadband

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– The Edgefield Advertiser

“Like me, you may have heard it said that trying to bring Broadband Internet capabilities to rural areas like Edgefield County in the early part of the 21stcentury is similar in the effort our grandparents had in bringing electricity to rural areas in the early part of the 20thcentury.”

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Colleton County School District Partners with MUSC for In-School Telehealth Program

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“The Colleton County School District is partnering with the MUSC Children’s Health for a school-based Telehealth program.

The goal is to provide quality healthcare to the students at Colleton County Middle School.

According to the district’s coordinator of communications, Sean Gruber, the key technology that makes this program possible is a “telehealth cart” provided by the South Carolina Telehealth Alliance, which will allow students to remotely visit with doctors.”

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Palmetto Care Connections and Family Health Centers Hold School Nurse Telehealth Training

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-Kathy Rhoad, PCC Public Relations Director & Program Development

Nurses from Calhoun County Schools, Bamberg School District Two Schools and OCAB completed telehealth training provided by Palmetto Care Connections and Family Health Centers, Inc. Pictured left to right: Teresa Williams, Calhoun County; Melissa Mack, Calhoun County; Shanel Dunkin, FNP Family Health Center; Stacey Catoe, Bamberg School District Two; DeEboney Chisolm, Bamberg School District Two; and Jenny Madonna, OCAB.


ORANGEBURG, SC—Palmetto Care Connections (PCC) and Family Health Centers, Inc. (FHC) partnered to conduct telehealth training for school nurses from Calhoun County Schools, Bamberg School District Two Schools, and the Orangeburg Calhoun Allendale Bamberg (OCAB) Community Action Agency, Inc. on Wednesday, August 14 in Orangeburg.

The training included an overview of telehealth, an introduction to school-based telehealth, videos and live demonstrations of telehealth equipment, and Family Health Center Telehealth Policies and Procedures.

“Palmetto Care Connections is pleased to partner with Family Health Centers to expand school-based telehealth in Calhoun and Bamberg County schools and OCAB Head Start programs,” said PCC Chief Executive Officer Kathy Schwarting. “Helping increase access to health care and keeping health care local in the rural and underserved areas of South Carolina is what Palmetto Care Connections is all about.”

“School-based telehealth has been proven to reduce absences, improve classroom behaviors, reduce Emergency Department visits and result in less missed work and reduced medical costs for parents,” said Kathy Rhoad, PCC director of public relations and program development.

The types of care that can be provided through telehealth range from coughs, colds, flu and strep throat to specialty care including access to pediatric and behavioral health specialists and chronic disease management such as asthma and diabetes.

The school nurse’s role includes evaluating the student and determining whether he or she can benefit from a telehealth consult, contacting the parent, connecting to Family Health Center medical providers, performing examinations using digital telehealth equipment and facilitating video conversations with between the provider, student and parent. When appropriate, the school nurse can coordinate getting prescriptions filled, delivered and administered to students.

“It all starts with the parental consent form,” said Family Health Center Chief Executive Officer Leon A. Brunson, Sr. “For a student to be eligible for telemedicine services, the school must have a parental consent form on file. We are providing these forms to the schools this week to send home with each student.”

“Family Health Center has served this region for fifty years and was the one of the first federally qualified health centers to be nationally accredited by The Joint Commission. Telehealth is helping FHC achieve its vision of improving the health of our community by working in partnership with patients, providers and other organizations to improve access and eliminate disparities,” said Brunson.

Family Health Centers Inc. is a federally funded community health center serving the medically underserved residents of Orangeburg, Bamberg, Calhoun, and Upper Dorchester counties in S.C. The organization has grown from one health center located on Magnolia Street in Orangeburg, to six additional comprehensive primary care sites in Bamberg, Neeses, Denmark, St. George, Vance, and St. Matthews. Services offered include:  Adult Medicine, Pediatrics, OB/GYN, Podiatry, Dental, Health Education, X-Ray, Laboratory, Pharmacy, Migrant Farm Worker Program and Behavioral/Social Health. FHC’s fully equipped medical mobile units provide optometry and dental services throughout the region.

Established in 2010, PCC is a non-profit organization that provides technology, broadband, and telehealth support services to health care providers in rural and underserved areas in S.C. PCC is the leader of the Palmetto State Providers Network, a broadband consortium which facilitates broadband connections throughout the state.



Lamar Now Has High Speed Internet Services

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– Tonya Brown (abc 15 NEWS)

“LAMAR, S.C. (WPDE) — The Darlington County Town of Lamar now has high-speed internet services thanks to Spectrum after it invested $1 million to build a state of the art network in the community, according to a news release. The release said Spectrum’s “fiber-rich broadband network features the fastest internet starting speeds of 100 Mbps, with no modem fees, data caps or contracts.” ”


FCC Tweaks Rural Health Care Program to Aid Telehealth Expansion

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-Eric Wicklund (Xtelligent Healthcare Media, LLC)

“The Federal Communications Commission is tweaking its Rural Health Care Program in a bid to improve funding opportunities for new and expanding telehealth programs. The agency this week issued a Report and Order that aims to “ensure limited program funds are disbursed efficiently and equitably, promote transparency and predictability in the program’s administration, and strengthen safeguards against waste, fraud, and abuse.” The move follows a widely publicized decision last year to boost funding for the program, which funds expanded broadband connectivity for connected health services.”

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CMS Releases CY 2020 Proposed Physician Fee Schedule

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– Arent Fox (JD SUPRA)

“The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released the CY 2020 Proposed Physician Fee Schedule. The proposed Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) is published annually by CMS and contains, among other things, updated information on Medicare payment rates for current procedural terminology (CPT) codes, newly proposed CPT and HCPCS codes, and proposed billing requirement changes.”

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