June 03, 2024

ATA Nexus 2024: The Next Chapter for Virtual Care

The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) brought together change-makers and front-line providers from across the telehealth industry for its annual conference, ATA Nexus 2024, on May 5-7, 2024, in Phoenix, Arizona. Below are some of our key takeaways:

Federal Telehealth Policy in Flux

As discussed throughout the conference, Congress and the Biden administration have necessarily been active this year on federal telehealth policy, given that COVID pandemic flexibilities, particularly in the Medicare program, expire at the end of this year. Faegre Drinker’s Megan Herber, alongside ATA representatives, addressed audience concerns at a Government Relations Special Interest Group town hall. Topics included the interplay between the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and state authorities on controlled substance prescribing, licensure flexibilities and Medicare billing intricacies.

Artificial Intelligence in Telehealth

Faegre Drinker’s Scott Kosnoff discussed AI policy and risk management as part of a panel discussion focused on President Biden’s executive order on AI, subsequent agency actions and efforts by Congress to get up-to-speed. On the risk management front, Scott said that organizations should be able to demonstrate that they (i) appreciate the concerns associated with AI, (ii) take those concerns seriously; and (iii) have exercised reasonable care in identifying, managing and mitigating the risk of negative outcomes.

Complexities of Controlled-Substance Prescribing

Controlled-substance prescribing via telehealth has been complicated since — well, forever. Moderated by Faegre Drinker’s Libby Baney, leaders from Hims & Hers Health, National Community Pharmacists Association, DoseSpot, and Ophelia discussed the policy as well as legal and political reasons for the continued complexity. The panel cited DEA rules (namely the Ryan Haight Act’s long-awaited “special registration” regulations) not keeping up with the pace of telehealth as health, legal risks for providers and trading partners (see, e.g., opioid epidemic settlements), and lack of clarity from DEA on using geography as a “red flag”. All eagerly await the much-anticipated DEA Ryan Haight Act rulemaking on controlled substance and buprenorphine prescribing via telehealth.

Women’s Health Ventures’ Innovation and Investment Gaps

Faegre Drinker’s Jen Breuer attended a panel discussion on women’s health ventures’ start-ups addressing unmet needs in women’s health. Founders and investors emphasized the need for business fundamentals to attract investment in this underfunded area. The discussion also highlighted the importance of diversity in clinical trials and research to better understand how genetics influence health care for women.

Telehealth Policy Predictions

Faegre Drinker’s Elliot Vice joined a panel exploring predictions and implications surrounding telehealth policy. The discussion centered around lobbying efforts for extending Medicare telehealth flexibilities, commercial coverage, DEA regulations on remote-controlled substance prescribing, and the impact on rural health. Both panelists and attendees underscored the urgency to ensure telehealth advancements made during the pandemic become permanent.

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