The Federal Communications Commission has proposed the 3-year, $100 million program to bring telehealth to low-income patients, veterans, and areas lacking access to adequate healthcare; use of opioids in Medicare Part D declined in 2018 as use of medication-assisted treatment increased; a House committee held a hearing on identifying, preventing, and treating childhood trauma as a public health issue.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a 3-year, $100 million Connected Care Pilot program that would help bring telehealth services to low-income patients, veterans, and geographic areas lacking access to adequate healthcare. The program would offer an 85% discount on connectivity for broadband-enabled telehealth services to treat chronic conditions outside of the doctor’s office. According to the FCC, data collected from the program would be used to analyze the possible benefits that supporting broadband service can create.A report from the Office of the Inspector General of HHS revealed that in 2018, the use of opioids in Medicare Part D decreased from the previous 2 years while the use of medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder increased. In 2018, 29% of Part D beneficiaries received opioids compared with 31% in 2017 and 33% in 2016. Amid greater pushes for naloxone access, the report also showed that the number of beneficiaries receiving the drug more than doubled from 2017 to 2018. In light of this progress, the report says it is crucial for HHS to continue to implement effective strategies and develop new ones to address the epidemic.The House Oversight and Reform Committee held a hearing yesterday on identifying, preventing, and treating childhood trauma as a public health issue. During the hearing, the committee heard from trauma survivors, public health experts, and government officials to assess the long-term effects of childhood trauma and the need for more federal attention to address the issue. The committee heard from 2 panels, one of which shared personal stories of trauma, healing, and advocacy. The other panel consisted of experts who discussed the prevalence of childhood trauma and the limited amount of federal initiatives to prevent trauma and treat those who have experienced it.