Task Force on Leverage Telehealth & Telemedicine to meet

The Leverage Telehealth & Telemedicine Task Force meets Wednesday, July 17, at 10 a.m. CT, in Room 413 of the State Capitol in Pierre, according to a news release from the Legislative Research Council.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 2, passed during the 2019 legislation session, included a task force to examine how to best leverage telehealth and telemedicine to the full appropriate extent, focusing on the areas of acute assessment and crisis supports, along with mental health assessments and counseling.

The task force will review the virtual mental health services currently available across the state. Task force members will be briefed on current grant funding or grant funding that may be available in the future for use in expanding or enhancing those services. The will also cover current state laws that provide for the use of telehealth and telemedicine.

The Health Resources Services Administration defines telehealth as the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration. Technologies include videoconferencing, the internet, store-and-forward imaging, streaming media, and terrestrial and wireless communications.

Telehealth is different from telemedicine because it refers to a broader scope of remote healthcare services than telemedicine. While telemedicine refers specifically to remote clinical services, telehealth can refer to remote non-clinical services, such as provider training, administrative meetings, and continuing medical education, in addition to clinical services.

The task force meeting is open to the public, and public testimony will be taken in the afternoon. The full agenda is available online at https://sdlegislature.gov/docs/Interim/2019/agendas/ATF307172019.pdf. Highlights include:

Review of relevant current state law; by Clare Charlson, principal research analyst Legislative Research Council

Statewide virtual capacity and forthcoming enhancements; by Pat Snow, commissioner SD Bureau of Information & Technology

Current availability of virtual mental health services & available grants; by Amy Iversen-Pollreisz, deputy secretary, and Tiffany Wolfgang, director of Division

of Behavioral Health Services, SD Department of Social Services

Statewide perspective on the development of virtual mental health services; by Rebecca Kiesow-Knudsen, vice president of Community Services, Lutheran Social Services

Avera eCARE services and recent grants — virtual mental health consultation demonstration; by Brian Erickson, behavioral health officer, Avera eCARE

Virtual mental health services available at community-based mental health centers; by Susan Kornder, executive director Northeastern Mental Health Center.

The task force members are chair Senator Deb Soholt (R-Sioux Falls), vice chair Representative Herman Otten (R-Lennox), Sen. Jim Stalzer (R-Sioux Falls), Rep. Linda Duba (D-Sioux Falls), Rep. Tamara St. John (R-Sisseton), Brian Erickson (Sioux Falls), Amy Hartman (Sioux Falls), Amy Iversen-Pollreisz (Pierre), Rebecca Kiesow-Knudsen (Sioux Falls), Susan Kornder (Aberdeen), Dr. Melita Rank (Fort Thompson), and Kelly Serr (Bison).