Presence Health Cited for Leading Telehealth Legislative Change Supporting Behavioral Health Patients
Chicago, Ill. – Presence Health, one of the largest Catholic healthcare systems in Illinois, has been awarded the Improved Policy Changes to Advance Telehealth: Award as announced today by the Partnership for Connected Illinois (PCI). This PCI award is given to organizations or individuals demonstrating leadership in promoting and advocating for improved telehealth policies, laws and regulations in Illinois. Annually, PCI presents telehealth service and innovation awards in four categories, including Improved Policy Changes to Advance Telehealth, Improved Care for Underserved Populations, Advancing Telehealth by Innovation and Achievement.
Presence Health’s efforts in actively supporting change in Illinois law regarding telehealth by identifying behavioral health care regulatory barriers was key in PCI’s honoring the health system with this award. Specifically, Presence Health recognized that lack of access to behavioral health providers, especially psychiatrists as one of the major reasons behavioral health often remains untreated. A Medicaid requirement that a licensed healthcare professional be present with the patient during a Telepsychiatry appointment was creating unnecessary cost for Telepsychiatry consultations. Presence Health worked closely with both Illinois House and Senate leaders to craft a bi-partisan bill to remove the Telepsychiatry regulatory requirement; the bill has since passed. The key advantage for patients, resulting from the new telehealth legislation, is potentially greater access to behavioral health care in Illinois.
Regarding Presence Health’s role in moving state legislators to take action in favor of Telehealth policy, Tony Licata, Board Chair of the Partnership for Connected Illinois said, “Presence Health is an exceptional telehealth leader in Illinois. Presence recognized that Illinois faces a shortage in behavioral health treatment options, especially in the Medicaid population. Knowing that tele-behavioral health could significantly expand treatment options, Presence identified an unnecessary regulatory burden that largely defeated the purpose of telehealth. They led a bi-partisan effort to remove that burden. The bill removing that burden passed the General Assembly and was signed into law. The law becomes effective January 1, 2018. Presence made a difference to the people of Illinois by opening the doors to Telepsychiatry for people in underserved communities.”
Presence Health System Director Telehealth Strategy and Development Laura Messineo reflected on her organization’s receiving the telehealth award commenting, “Presence Health is honored to be receiving this award from Partnership for Connected Illinois for our efforts in supporting legislative changes to help behavioral health patients get the care they need. And we are grateful to Representative Patti Bellock and Senator Pat McGuire for their thoughtful collaboration in removal of a barrier to Medicaid TelePsychiatry. With this new law, TelePsychiatry becomes a vital option for those needing care.”
All four annual PCI Leadership Awards will be presented to the recipient organizations during the 2017 Awards for Excellence in Telehealth Leadership luncheon at 12 p.m. on November 9, 2017 to be held at the offices of McDermott Will & Emery LLP (444 West Lake Street, Suite 4000, Chicago).
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About Partnership for Connected Illinois
Partnership for a Connected Illinois (PCI) is an Illinois 501(C) (3) nonprofit organization. The organization was formed in 2009 with the mission to ensure broadband access throughout the State of Illinois and to maximize its impact and adoption. PCI oversaw the expenditure of over $305 million for the expansion of broadband over 3,593 miles in Illinois. In 2015, with the completion of its Federal grants, PCI shifted its focus to broadband adoption through the use of telehealth. PCI created a project, the Illinois Telehealth Initiative, which conducts educational events on telehealth law, organizes telehealth demonstration projects and recognizes organizations that have demonstrated leadership in advancing telehealth in Illinois.
About Presence Health
Presence Health is one of the largest Catholic health systems in Illinois, serving over 4 million people in 11 counties. With over 150 sites of compassionate care including 12 hospitals, over 17,000 associates and more than 4,000 medical professionals, Presence Health has annual revenue of $2.6 billion.