Health Policy Round Up 3.29.19


The weekly BluePath Health Policy Roundup focuses on legislative, legal and policy developments in California and across the country that affect health technology. Each roundup summarizes legislative hearings, funding opportunities, and any published research findings or expert analyses.  


Legislative/Regulatory Developments

Articles and Reports

Funding Opportunities

April Policy Hearings and Meetings

Legislative/Regulatory Developments



SB 24 (proposed bill): Public health: public university student health centers: abortion by medication techniques

  • would require access to medical abortion at public universities in California
  • would allow funds to be used for telehealth startup costs (each university will receive a one-time expenditure of $200,000 for readiness)
  • passed in Senate Health 7-2; sent to Education Committee

Other States

Nebraska LB 503 (proposed bill)

  • would allow medical abortions to be provided via live video without a prior in-person visit
  • no votes yet

Arkansas HB 1220 (proposed bill)

  • would expand the definition of “professional relationship”, e.g. a relationship between a healthcare profession and patient, to include establishing the relationship via asynchronous and synchronous telehealth, provided the provider is able to review the patient’s medical record
  • passed House chamber, sent to Senate

Articles and Reports


FH Health Indicators White Paper: Analysis of Fair Health’s claim database reveals a 53% increase in telehealth utilization in 2018.

Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology: An Analysis of Responses to Senator Warner’s Health Sector Cybersecurity Inquiries: In response to the Senator’s inquiries, stakeholders reported that prevention of cybersecurity attacks requires a national strategy and collaboration amongst health care entities.

JAMIA: Racial and ethnic disparities in use of a personal health record by veterans living with HIV: Study shows disparities in race and SES amongst veterans with HIV in their use of My HealtheVet (MHV), the VA’s personal health record. The study concludes that “racial and ethnic minorities may be less likely to use PHRs for a myriad of reasons, including PHR privacy concerns, decreased educational attainment, and limited access to the internet.”

DHCS: Whole Person Care: A Mid-Point Check-In: This review of California’s WPC programs points towards positive developments, but data evaluation on the effectiveness of the WPC model for bettering populations’ health has not been made public yet.

New York Times: Drug Sites Upend Doctor-Patient Relations: ‘It’s Restaurant-Menu Medicine’: Some DTC virtual health apps are offering patients easy online diagnosis and access to drugs like Viagra and birth control. As with many other industries being taken over by online services, these virtual health apps operate in a regulatory vacuum and are increasingly coming under scrutiny because of potential public health risks because online patient requests and provider assessment do not require prior exams, such as blood pressure calculation and other factors that might increase health risks.


Funding Opportunities


HRSA: Innovations in Access to Care for Children and Youth with Epilepsy This program supports the use of telehealth to improve youth health care transition processes and communication and collaboration between primary and specialty care for children and youth with epilepsy (CYE) in medically underserved and/or rural areas. Proposals due 4/22/19.

NIH & AHRQ: Planning Grants for Pragmatic Research in Healthcare Settings to Improve Diabetes and Obesity Prevention and Care (R34 Clinical Trial Required) This funding opportunity seeks proposals for pilots addressing diabetes and obesity prevention with a “focus on approaches with the potential to be broadly disseminated outside the specific setting where it is being tested”. Proposals due 5/14/19.

NIH & AHRQ: Pragmatic Research in Healthcare Settings to Improve Diabetes and Obesity Prevention and Care (R18 Clinical Trial Required) This funding seeks proposals to test innovative strategies for diabetes and obesity prevention in “healthcare settings where individuals receive their medical care”. Proposals due 5/14/19

DNIH: Use of Technology to Enhance Patient Outcomes and Prevent Illness (R01 Clinical Trial Optional) NIH is seeking proposals on the use of technologies, including remote healthcare, that improve patient outcomes. Ongoing standard NIH application dates.

NeUSDA: Distance Leaning & Telemedicine Grants USDA’s telemedicine grants seek proposals to support the reduction of SUD morbidity and mortality in high-risk rural communities by expanding prevention, treatment and/or recovery capacities at community, county, state, and/or regional levels. Proposals due 5/15/19.


April Policy Hearings and Meetings


April 8th: Assembly Budget Subcommittee on HHS, Informational Hearing: DHCS, HBEX, Governor’s Health Care Package.

April 9th: Assembly Health, Bill Hearing includes AB 537 on Medi-Cal managed care value based payment program and QI reporting.

April 10th: Senate Health, Bill Hearing includes SB 65 on individual plan subsidies, SB 389 on MHSA funding allocation.