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September 2022

Dillon County Residents Complete Digital Literacy Training

By News


Written by: Nicole Gard, Director of Communications, PCC

LAKE VIEW, SC – Residents of Dillon County recently completed a one-day digital literacy learning program conducted by Palmetto Care Connections (PCC), a statewide non-profit organization providing technology, broadband, and telehealth solutions to South Carolinians in rural and underserved communities.

The program was part of a $35,000 Digital Education grant awarded from Spectrum to increase digital inclusion and expand telehealth in rural areas of South Carolina. With this grant, seniors in four rural counties will receive digital inclusion training, digital devices, and assistance with affordable internet service.

“I loved going back home and teaching some of our seniors how to safely use technology and the internet. This training provides them skills and a level of confidence that they did not have. Don’t be mistaken though, as we learned as much from them as they learned from us, and we loved every minute of it! Now, they are connected to a whole new world of opportunities!” said Lake View native and PCC Chief Executive Office Kathy Schwarting.

“We applaud Palmetto Care Connections for their broadband educations initiatives and for helping us support efforts that promote digital literacy in rural South Carolina counties,” said Rahman Khan, Vice President of Community Impact for Charter Communications, Inc. “Through this partnership with PCC, the Spectrum Digital Education program is able to bring essential resources to those in need, and we look forward to working with them on this transformative project.”

All participants in PCC’s Digital Literacy Training program learn the basic skills needed to use a computer and internet in daily life, health, and education.

“There are so many people in our community that don’t have access to internet, and don’t have devices to use for telehealth,” said Pat Laird of Lake View. “This is just a great opportunity for them, and they’ve learned a lot of information about how to get other services, like reduced price internet and Wi-Fi. I think it’s just a wonderful opportunity for any community to have this class.”

At the end of the Lake View program, 24 participants learned how to use their Chromebooks for safe internet use; including sending and receiving photos and emails, using the virtual face-to-face app ‘Zoom’ to connect with friends and family, as well as connecting with their doctors for virtual telehealth appointments.

“I feel great, and I really enjoyed this class! I wanted to take this class to learn, and I learned a lot that I didn’t know before I came in,” said Lake View resident Gerlene Brigman. “Everyone was very nice and helpful; I would absolutely recommend this class.”

“I have no technology at my house, and this could be a huge help,” said Dillon County Lakeview Branch Librarian Mertis Barnett. “I’d like to be able to Zoom my kids more. If they don’t come for holidays, I only see them about once or twice a month. I think they’ll be surprised when they find out I took this class and now have my own Chromebook.”

Josephine Gilchrist took to her Facebook, saying “Thanks to the awesome team on showing us seniors how to surf the web in a safe manner…that was very interesting. Yes, I learned something new, plus we all received a brand-new Chromebook laptop computer too!”


About Palmetto Care Connections
Established in 2010, PCC is a non-profit organization that provides technology, broadband, and telehealth solutions to health care providers in rural and underserved areas in South Carolina. PCC hosts the Annual Telehealth Summit of South Carolina presenting state and national best practices and trends, as well as providing networking connections for health care, technology, and broadband

Telehealth Program Integrity Risk Found To Be Low In New Office Of The Inspector General (Oig) Report

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Source: ATA

Urban and Hispanic Medicaid Beneficiaries More Likely to Use Telehealth During First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic

WASHINGTON, DC, SEPTEMBER 7, 2022 – The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) and ATA Action issued the following statement in response to two new reports issued this week by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General, as part of a series that examines the use of telehealth in Medicare, including telehealth program integrity and the characteristics of beneficiaries who used telehealth during the pandemic.

“The Office of the Inspector General made yet another clear statement outlining the resounding success of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their report found that only a ‘very small proportion of providers’ billed Medicare inappropriately, indicating that the measures put in place to safeguard against fraud, waste, and abuse related to telehealth worked well to maintain program integrity,” said Kyle Zebley, senior vice president, public policy, the ATA, and executive director, ATA Action. “We are incredibly proud of how telehealth was able to respond during the pandemic and extremely pleased at another very positive report from OIG.”

A companion report from the OIG examined the characteristics of beneficiaries who used telehealth during the first year of the pandemic.

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Increased telehealth use during pandemic linked to reduced overdose risk: study

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FILE – Paul “Rip” Connell, CEO of Private Clinic North, a methadone clinic, shows a 35 mg liquid dose of methadone at the clinic in Rossville, Ga., on March 7, 2017. A deepening opioid epidemic is prompting the U.S. Department of Justice to warn about discrimination against those who are taking medication to wean themselves off their addiction. In guidelines published Tuesday, April 5, 2022, the DOJ said employers, health care providers, jails and others cannot discriminate against people because they are taking prescribed drugs to treat opioid use disorder. (AP Photo/Kevin D. Liles, File)

Source:  The Hill


A new study published on Wednesday found that the expanded use of telehealth services during the coronavirus pandemic was associated with a reduced risk of opioid overdoses.

Researchers from multiple federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) looked at data from more than 170,000 Medicare beneficiaries.

They analyzed receipts for telehealth services and medications for opioid use disorder (OUD) as well as medically treated overdoses.

The study split the observed beneficiaries into two groups — one that initiated OUD care before the pandemic and another that initiated care after the outbreak began.

When the pandemic began, concerns were raised among the medical community that stressors such as the outbreak and the related stay-at-home orders would raise the risk of overdoses individuals with OUD.

The researchers found that beneficiaries in the COVID-19 pandemic group were likely to receive OUD-related telehealth care and were also more likely to receive corresponding medications.

Those who received OUD-related telehealth care were more likely to retain medical treatments for their conditions and had a lower risk of experiencing a medically treated overdose.

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South Carolina Health System Implements Virtual Medical Exam Kit

By News

Source: mHealth Intelligence

By Mark Melchionna


Prisma Health patients will gain virtual care options following the addition of a remote medical examination kit across its 18 hospitals.

 – To improve patient outcomes while maintaining diagnostic accuracy, South Carolina-based Prisma Health implemented the Tytocare Medical Exam Kit, which uses various technology components to virtually detect, diagnose, and care for multiple conditions.

As healthcare providers capitalize on the advancement of technology, various innovations have emerged that can lead to more convenient processes for those providing and receiving care. Prisma Health, an 18-hospital system with 300 outpatient sites and more than 5,100 clinicians across its clinically integrated network, aims to participate in the digital transformation of healthcare by adding virtual care options.

The health system has deployed a new exam kit that allows patients to engage in virtual visits with their providers. The kit includes tools that capture videos and sounds of various organ functions, including the heart and lungs, which are then sent to providers through the Tytocare app for further analysis.

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