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Monthly Archives

July 2023

PCC partners with Family Solutions and Absolute Total Care

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This week, on July 25th and 26th, PCC had its first Digital Literacy training at the Orangeburg County Library in collaboration with Family Solutions. This grant was funded by Absolute Total Care as an initiative to train 200 mothers’ digital literacy and provide them with a device at no cost. A total of 9 women participated in our first training, and we are looking forward to the impact this training will have on mothers across South Carolina!

News release to follow…

#pcc2023 #palmettocareconnections #familysolutions #digitalliteracy #southcarolina

Telehealth’s Vital Role in Breaking Down Barriers to Mental Health Care

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Source: The Healthcare Technology Report

The COVID-19 pandemic brought about numerous challenges, including disruptions to mental health care delivery. However, a recent study published in the magazine Counseling & Development by the American Counseling Association offers encouraging insights. The research, led by Yusen Zhai, assistant professor of counseling and community counseling clinic director at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, reveals that pandemic telehealth did not hinder mental health service seekers. Instead, it emerged as a feasible and effective option, especially for clients facing transportation limitations or residing in areas with few mental health specialists nearby.

During the pandemic, lockdowns made it challenging for counselors to meet clients in person, prompting insurance companies to expand telehealth coverage. To assess its impact on counseling intentions, Zhai and his colleagues conducted a comprehensive evaluation of over 52,000 U.S. university and college students between September 2018 and June 2020. The participants provided anonymized data, were evaluated for depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, and also shared information about their mental health history and beliefs.

The study’s findings were remarkable. Despite concerns about technology infrastructure or reservations regarding phone or online therapy, telehealth did not deter individuals from seeking counseling services. This discovery validates the importance of telehealth counseling insurance coverage policies, which are crucial as society navigates the post-pandemic environment and ponders the future of healthcare delivery.

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Washington’s got a thing for telehealth

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Source: Politico


Flush times continue in Washington for telehealth advocates, marked most recently by victories in the House and at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services last week.

CMS proposed to boost payment rates to providers for the virtual care they give to Medicare patients in their homes. And a House subcommittee approved a bill that would provide permanent tax breaks for telehealth plans.

The nitty-gritty: In its proposed physician fee schedule for next year, CMS says doctors need additional compensation because they’re now offering a significant amount of telehealth while still maintaining their physical offices.

The agency said doctors’ expenses are consistent with a higher “non-facility” payment rate, which varies by service type.

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Palmetto Care Connections is Designated as a Leader in Age-Inclusive Telehealth Advocacy

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Joining 21 health systems, advocates, and philanthropy leaders across the nation, Palmetto Care Connections pledges commitment to telehealth principles and guidelines that meet the unique needs of aging Americans.

[Bamberg, South Carolina] – Palmetto Care Connections, a leader in advocating for technology-enabled health care pledged its commitment to advance age-inclusive telehealth principles and guidelines that will define the future virtual care for older adults and their family caregivers.  By making this pledge, Palmetto Care Connections joins a robust list of healthcare leaders who express commitment to high-quality, equitable, and person-centered telehealth for older adults. This commitment aligns with Palmetto Care Connection’s work focused on leveraging technology to improve access to healthcare services and enhance the well-being of older adults and their families.

Grounded in practicality, the age-inclusive telehealth principles and guidelines were spearheaded and vetted by the West Health Institute and leading experts in geriatrics, telehealth, and consumer advocacy.  To supercharge this movement, West Health launched a new Center of Excellence For Telehealth and Aging (CE4TA) with the Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center and University of Virginia Department of Geriatrics. The Center of Excellence provides free, practical tools, extensive, vetted resources, and a community of like-minded experts to help organizations enhance their telehealth offerings and showcase their achievements in improving telehealth care for older adults.

Older adults often face a confusing, unresponsive, and uncoordinated care system and these hurdles were amplified during the COVID-19 pandemic.  In response, federal and state leaders expanded payment for telehealth services.  In 2020 alone, Medicare-covered telehealth visits exploded by 63-fold.  Leading health systems with telehealth platforms learned that older adults can and will use this type of care, however intentional human-centered design efforts are vital to ensure all customer segments – particularly older adults with complex care needs – can meaningfully use telehealth going forward.

Palmetto Care Connections is honored to be recognized for its commitment in shaping the future of age-inclusive telehealth to meet the needs, values, and preferences of older adult and family caregivers of today and tomorrow.  This is one more way Palmetto Care Connections is achieving its mission connect older adults in rural and underserved communities of South Carolina to quality services through broadband, technology, and telehealth.

About Palmetto Care Connections

Established in 2010, Palmetto Care Connections (PCC) is a non-profit organization that brings technology, broadband, and telehealth solutions to health care providers in rural and underserved areas in South Carolina. PCC assists providers in keeping health care local and increasing quality services to underserved South Carolinians. For more information, visit









Internet on a Budget: Low-Cost Programs for Seniors to Stay Connected

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Source: ratethestuff

In today’s digital age, internet access has become a crucial aspect of daily life, especially for seniors. The Internet provides seniors with access to essential services, such as telemedicine and communication with loved ones. However, the cost of internet access can be a significant barrier for seniors on fixed incomes.

Fortunately, many internet service providers offer cheap internet programs tailored specifically for seniors. In this article, we will discuss the various cheap Internet programs available for seniors, their eligibility requirements, and the benefits of having Internet access. We will also provide tips on how to choose the best program for your needs.

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Telehealth largely drives fewer in-person follow-up visits, study shows

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Source by:  FIERCE Healthcare

By Frank Diamond

Telehealth came into its own during the COVID-19 pandemic and even though there’s a push to have it play a bigger role in healthcare going forward just how big a role that should be remains to be seen.

white paper from Epic Research looks at how often a telehealth visit leads to a second telehealth or in-person visit and finds that the answer depends in large part on the specialty. Epic reviewed data from over 40 million specialty and 32 million primary care visits from January 2022 to March 2023.

Researchers found that for most specialties patients were more likely to have an in-person follow-up visit 90 days after an in-person visit rather than a telehealth visit. In addition, mental health saw the greatest difference in follow-up visits between initial in-person and telehealth visits: 10% for telehealth visits and 40% of in-person visits having a follow-up visit within 90 days.

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Virtual Counseling Helps Mother Overcome Trauma

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Source: SCETV

When Christy Pleasant Cabaniss saw a sign reading ‘Are you over 50 and have you experienced trauma?’ it dawned on her that the chronic medical uncertainty she had dealt with for two decades had been traumatic.

The posting belonged to South Carolina Safe Seniors, a grant-funded program at the College of Nursing at the Medical University of South Carolina which offers free mental health counseling to older adults who have experienced abuse, neglect or trauma. Cabaniss sought treatment and initially received counseling services in-person, then the sessions switched to a virtual format through telehealth.

“I was surprised to find (telehealth) was great,” Cabaniss said. “Once you already know the practitioner you can really zero in on them. It’s really intimate and a little more intense because there’s no distractions.”


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South Carolina to receive more than $551M to expand high speed internet access

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Source: Columbia Regional Business Report

By:  Christina Lee Knauss

South Carolina will receive more than $551 million from the federal government to deploy affordable and reliable high-speed internet around the state.

The announcement came recently from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The state will receive $551,535,983.05 for the high-speed internet, according to a news release. Officials estimate that currently 119,580 homes and small businesses statewide lack access to a high-speed internet connection.

The funding is part of the federal government’s “Internet for All” initiative and the funding is coming form the $42.45 billion Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program (BEAD), according to the release.

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Telehealth Most Commonly Used for Follow-ups, Behavioral Healthcare

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 By Anuja Vaidya


A new report shows that telehealth usage remained steady from 2022 to 2023, with follow-up and behavioral healthcare cited as the primary reasons for a virtual visit.

 – Most Americans are engaging in telehealth for follow-ups from a prior appointment and behavioral healthcare, according to a new survey.

Conducted by global commercial real estate and investment management company JLL, the survey polled 4,017 US residents from April 19 to April 28. Of the respondents, 51 percent were female, and 49 percent were male. Further, 29 percent were Baby Boomers, 28 percent were Millennials, 25 percent were Generation X, and 15 percent were Generation Z. Twenty-eight percent lived in urban settings, 24 percent in rural areas, and the rest in suburban settings.

The survey results show that 42 percent of respondents said they had a telehealth appointment in the last year. This figure has dropped slightly from the 2022 JLL Healthcare Patient Consumer Survey, which showed that 45 percent said they had a telehealth appointment in the last year.

Though follow-up from a prior appointment was the top reason for a telehealth appointment in the 2022 and 2023 surveys, the proportion of residents citing this reason declined.

In the 2023 survey, 43 percent of respondents said they had a follow-up visit via telehealth, compared to 45 percent the year prior.

On the other hand, the share of respondents using telehealth for behavioral healthcare has grown. Around 31 percent of respondents said they had a telehealth visit for behavioral health/counseling in 2023, up from 25 percent in 2022.

The third most common reason for a telehealth visit was an initial consultation for a medical concern or condition, with 26 percent of respondents in 2022 and 27 percent in 2023 citing this reason. Primary and preventative care was a new option in the 2023 survey, and 17 percent of respondents said they participated in a virtual visit for this reason.

But the survey also revealed that 29 percent of the time, telehealth led to an in-person visit.

Regardless, 71 percent of US residents stated that based on their past experience, they would prefer a telehealth visit in the future, whether they chose it themselves or were directed to a telehealth appointment. This figure dropped 5 percentage points from the 2022 survey when 76 percent of respondents said they would prefer telehealth in the future.

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