November 18, 2022
Only What Matters In Health Information Policy
Does it seem crowded in here? As of November 15, 2022, the official count of the number of humans that live on Earth is 8 billion. Seems like a lot, but Las Vegas just hosted a conference with that many people called HLTH 2022. If you missed HLTH this year, all you need to know is that attending it was like being one of the Moms in the 2017 film A Bad Moms’ Christmas. You were running around like a crazy person, having earnest, important discussions with friends, and -- just like in the movie -- there was a cheesy mall that had a weird amount of alcohol available. As we explain further in the One Thoughtful Paragraph, this year’s HLTH conference focused our attention on digital mental health apps.
Other digital health news that focused our attention this week:
The White House Office of Science, Technology, and Policy published a blog post asking medical professionals to share evidence and recommendations on which telehealth services should be covered by Medicare. Comments are due February 10, 2023.
Best line: “The Medicare telehealth services list has a big impact on health care providers and beneficiaries. Now is the time to consider submitting requests and evidence for next year’s list.”
The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate hospital non-compliance with price transparency rules that went into effect on January 1, 2021. More here.
Best line: “Some hospitals are also burying [their public charges for the most shoppable services] deep in their websites or requiring consumers to search through multiple pages and subpages to find the information.”
In a new blog post, CMS identifies the importance of SDOH data collection for advancing health equity. The agency plans to collect new health equity elements, align standards, and gradually implement health equity scores. More here.
Best line: “Data can tell a story, but if the data is incomplete or unaligned, the story is also incomplete.”
One Thoughtful Paragraph
While many of us D.C. types attended HLTH in Las Vegas, we were keeping a close eye on the campus shooting unfolding back home at the University of Virginia. These horrible tragedies always come with a renewed focus on mental health (which may have a moment during the Lame Duck session of Congress), but the demand for mental health services was already a major source of concern. There was plenty of evidence of this concern at the HLTH conference -- which featured a laundry list of companies -- several of whom are addressing mental health issues with digital health tools. For example, BehaVR announced the launch of a virtual reality mental wellness program for which it plans to seek FDA clearance as a digital therapeutic. Sondermind, a digital behavioral health company, announced that it bought Total Brain, a mental health management app, to help therapists and patients understand triggers and treatment plans. Walgreens, a major HLTH sponsor, just went live with its mental health and wellness digital platform, SoulBeing. There are more, but the point is that there are LOTS of digital mental health apps because there is a serious demand for this type of assistance. Wanda Sykes, who played a therapist in A Bad Moms’ Christmas, explains why some of us have a demand for mental health apps better than we can.
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