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3 posts from August 2013


USciences' Dr. Rondalyn Whitney Appointed to Telemedicine Task Force’s Clinical Advisory Group

By Rondalyn V. Whitney, PhD, OT/L, interim director of the occupational therapy doctoral program at USciences.

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Telemedicine Task Force’s (TTF) Clinical Advisory Group (CAG) in Maryland and learn more about the current guiding principles for the group. The CAG was established to identify ways the expansion of telemedicine would be valuable and feasible as a mechanism to increase access to care primarily for those in rural settings throughout Maryland.

As you may know, there are multiple intersections between technology and the provision of occupational therapy. In the OT profession, our role falls under the overarching construct of telehealth – using online tools to provide clinical care at a distance. In comparison, telemedicine – which is more physician driven – is one service model.

The body of work generated by Jana Carson, Tammy Richmond, and other OT practitioners and scholars have created a collection of scholarship to that solidly establishes the role of OT in telehealth practice.This information became invaluable when I was asked to attend Telemedicine Task Force’s Clinical Advisory Group, and advocate for the role of OT in the evolving legislative conversation of how telemedicine will be regulated in the state.

Maryland’s Senate Bill 776 charges the task force to identify opportunities for to improve health status for its underserved populations, assess barriers and support to telehealth, identify strategies for deployment, and provide response as requested by Maryland Health Care Commission. There are three advisory groups attached: clinical, finance and business model, and technology solutions and standards. The state's Senate Bill 781 requires health insurers and managed care organizations to deliver coverage for healthcare services provided appropriately using telemedicine technology. Under this legislation, coverage cannot be denied because services were provided through telemedicine rather than in-person.

The first meeting of the CAG established overarching guiding principles and engaged in robust debate regarding the prioritization of requirements of Senate Bill 776 as they related to clinical practice. One major outcome of the discussion was the change in terminology from “telemedicine” to “telehealth” so the profession of OT would be legal recognized as a pivotal service provider if the ultimate goal is to improve public health while maintaining affordable care. The import of this seemingly simple change in language should not be overlooked for our profession and the public we serve. Outcome studies demonstrate the improved health and function of clients who receive OT. Another important change was the conversion of “patient” to “public” therefore opening telehealth services for practice settings beyond hospital based care.

Finally, the CAG prioritized the examination of reciprocity of state licensure. It was a privilege to be at this meeting and I am very excited to have had the opportunity to represent MOTA and advance the important role of OT in telehealth. I will be attending future meetings and look forward to reporting back to the profession additional information as this conversation evolves. For more information contact the Maryland Health Care Commission at mhccdhmh.maryland.gov.


P. Roy Vagelos to Speak at University of the Sciences

The mission of Mayes College is to insure that students and graduates are prepared to become
leaders, innovators, communicators, and collaborative practitioners in
disciplines and careers related to healthcare business, health policy, and
public health.   The Lois K. Cohen Endowed Lecture Series in Global
Health,  endowed by alumna  Dr.  Ilene Warner-Maron (PhD ’07), supports that mission.

Dr. Lois K. Cohen is a world-renowned advocate for public health, particularly in oral health.  She began her illustrious career as a research sociologist in the Division of Dental Health of the Department of Health and during her 42-year career, published more than 120 professional articles and authored four books on the social sciences and dentistry.    Dr. Warner-Maron’s donation serves as a means of paying tribute to the life achievements of Dr. Cohen by hosting an annual symposium addressing critical issues in global health and provide a meaningful forum for their discussion. 

This year’s topic, lecture, Biopharmaceutical Industry Impact on the Developed and Developing World will be presented by Dr. P.  Roy Vagelos, chairman of the board of Regeneron and former Chairman and CEO of Merck.     

During his career, Dr. Vagelos has been recognized for his contributions as a scientist, clinician, and philanthropist.  In addition to his work in the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Vagelos is also serves as chairman of the Board of Advisors at Columbia University Medical Center and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.    Under Dr. Vagelo’s leadership at Merck, the company developed the Mectizan
Donation Project
 which saved the lives of millions in South Africa suffering from river blindness.  

 This is the fourth year of the symposium, with previous lecturers being Dr. Mirta Roses-Periago, former director of the Pan American Health Organization, Dr. Sonia Sachs, director of the Millenium Villages project and Sir George Alleyne, Chancellor of the University of the West Indies

This year’s program is scheduled for Thursday, September 26th, 2013 from 5:30-7:30PM.  Attendance is free.  Please register here.


USciences Represented White House World Hepatitis Day Event

As an invited guest of the White House Director of HIV Policy, Dr. Amy Jessop, assistant professor of health policy and public health and director of HepTREC, joined national and global leaders from community non-governmental organizations, healthcare business, and government representatives to recognize World Hepatitis Day.

Participants discussed the vral hepatitis action plan and global policy initiative to combat these diseases that kill more people worldwide than HIV, Malaria, or TB.

Panel presentations can be viewed at the White House website or NVHR: http://nvhr.org/content/white-house-world-hepatitis-day-briefing-july-282011

Whitehouse 1

Dr. Jessup (second from right) among other invited community advocates from across the nation

Picture 3 white house 

Global policy leaders discussing viral hepatitis initiatives




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