The Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF) awarded grants to local organizations to support new telehealth services for residents in Wards 7 and 8 as well as residents of homeless shelters and public housing developments. These projects will connect patients to specialists such as cardiologists, psychiatrists. emergency physicians and pharmacists, using interactive audio, video, or other new technology. DHCF also awarded grants to local organizations to support telemedicine services among the District’s medication-assisted therapy (MAT) network of providers, including providers authorized (“waivered”) to treat opioid dependency with buprenorphine.
As telehealth programs emerge throughout the District, healthcare providers can use this model of care as a critical tool to improve health outcomes, increase access to care, and lower health care costs. These grants have helped to drive the development of telehealth payment policies. The grants address several goals set in the DC Healthy People 2020 Framework, a shared community agenda that monitors 150 objectives and 85 strategies for improving population health in the District by 2020, using both traditional and non-traditional programs and stakeholder input. Several grantees are also working specifically with Medicaid beneficiaries who qualify for DHCF’s new My Health GPS care coordination initiative.
Telemedicine Medication Assisted Therapy (TeleMAT) 2021 Grantees
Howard University and Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church-The Better Together TeleMAT Community Partnership, a collaboration between Howard University (HU) and the DC Dream Center and Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church plans to provide medication assisted treatment (MAT) via telehealth (TeleMAT) to persons with opioid use disorder (OUD) in Ward 7 and neighboring communities.
Honoring Individual Power & Strength (HIPS)- HIPS has refined a harm reduction clinical model that has been successfully replicated five times since 2016. HIPS is working in collaboration with the George Washington University School of Medicine by implementing a TeleMAT Internal Medicine Resident Training (TIMRT) that will expand access to buprenorphine-based MAT and encouraging these future providers to increase their patient outreach and capacity. HIPS will also leverage their current programs (Syringe Exchange, Foot Outreach, and Mobile MAT) to identify patients that may be eligible for the TeleMAT program.
MedStar Health Research Institute- MedStar Washington Hospital Center (MWHC) in partnership with Unity Health Care (UHC), will implement LINK-MAT, a patient-centered program, embedded in the evidence-based SBIRT model employed at Washington Hospital Center to address the increasing opioid-related overdose and mortality rates among DC’s vulnerable and underserved populations by providing a more seamless experience of care that integrates continuing behavioral health care in the Emergency Department (ED) to improve treatment outcomes for opioid use disorder (OUD).
Wards 7 and 8 Telehealth 2018 Grantees
Medical Home Development Group- Medical Home Development Group will address specific health problems in Wards 7 and 8 by providing telehealth services to their primary care patients. The objective of the grant is to reduce health disparities in Wards 7 and 8 by improving access to mental health services, colorectal cancer screenings, and individualized pharmacy consultations for high-risk patients.
Unity Health Care- Unity Health Care will implement a pharmacy-focused telehealth approach by offering clinical services provided by pharmacists. The objective is to increase access for patients with diabetes to clinical pharmacists to improve health outcomes.
Accent on Health- AOH will partner with Tri-State ACO Group to ensure that patients have access to specialty care via telehealth for hypertension, type 2 diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure and/or a behavioral health condition, which AOH estimates may reduce patient wait time for specialty care consultations by as much as 33%.
GW Medical Faculty Associates- The MFA will focus on three activities in their grant: 1) building knowledge with an environmental scan and heat map of telehealth resources in the District; 2) building capacity by training providers on the appropriateness of telehealth; and 3) testing feasibility of services in traditional and non-traditional formats, such as by partnering with the Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church in Ward 7 and Bridgepoint Hospital in Ward 8 to deploy telehealth services.
Shelters and Public Housing Telehealth 2018 Grantees
Urgent Wellness- Urgent Wellness will improve access to care for the residents in a public housing development located in Ward 7. Urgent Wellness will partner with stakeholders who will link residents to distant site acute care and psychiatry services via telehealth. The residents of the development will be connected to local family medicine providers and behavioral health providers with a goal of 1) reducing acute care wait times and decreasing emergency department utilization and 2) reducing the wait time for acute care, behavioral health, and psychiatry appointments.
Unity Health Care- Unity will increase access to specialty care services (dermatology, psychiatry) for homeless residents. Unity will operate at several homeless service sites in which they already provide health services. The objective is to expand access at homeless shelters to specialty care services via telehealth and augment patient and provider willingness to participate in telehealth services in the future.
For additional information on DHCF’S telemedicine provider guidance, rulemaking, and more please visit: dhcf.dc.gov/page/telemedicine