Government Relations

UM Legislative Update Newsletter

August 8, 2005

University of Missouri Testifies at Medicaid Reform Commission

Dr. Karen Edison testified before the state Medicaid Reform Commission on July 27. The Commission's topic was Information Technology's Role in Healthcare, which presented an opportunity for a discussion of telemedicine at the University of Missouri. Edison is the medical director of the Missouri Telehealth Network, and also serves as chair of UM Health Care's Department of Dermatology and co-director of the Center for Health Policy.

Edison's testimony outlined a number of ways telemedicine could help the state's Medicaid program save money and operate more efficiently. For example, Edison discussed the benefits of using telemedicine to see patients in their local community health center offices, rather than using Medicaid dollars to transport them to University Hospital and Clinics in Columbia. This not only saves the state money, but it saves time and money for the patient as well.

University of Missouri Health Care entered the realm of interactive telehealth in October 1994 when the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration's (HRSA) Office of Rural Health Policy awarded MU a three-year, $1.2 million grant to fund a telehealth network. Since that time, the Missouri Telehealth Network (MTN) has conducted more than 5,500 patient exams through its interactive video network and more then 30,000 teleradiology exams through its data network. The network has grown from its original four sites in Columbia and Fulton to more than 50 sites serving 30 Missouri counties. Services have been delivered in more than 15 different medical specialties including cardiology, dermatology, psychiatry, surgery (follow-up), and child health.

The Medicaid Reform Commission will continue its meetings throughout the fall, with an ultimate goal of making policy recommendations on reforming, redesigning and restructuring the state's Medicaid program.

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