UMMC Center for Telehealth Designated as a Telehealth Center of Excellence

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) today issued a statement heralding the federal Telehealth Center of Excellence designation granted to the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s (UMMC) telehealth program.

Cochran, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, was pivotal in directing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to partner with established programs, like the UMMC Center for Telehealth, to expand the use of telehealth services.

For an event to highlight the UMMC partnership with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Cochran issued the following statement:

“I commend the University of Mississippi Medical Center for receiving this Center of Excellence designation. The UMMC Center for Telehealth is already a recognized national model for telehealth expansion. This federal designation recognizes that leadership role and will allow UMMC to demonstrate to a broader audience how telehealth can be used to increase patient access to care and decrease costs.

“As a Telehealth Center of Excellence, UMMC will work with federal agencies, providers, vendors, researchers, patients, and other groups to address existing challenges to the adoption of telehealth, to establish standards and best practices, and to evaluate emerging technologies.

“Mississippians can be proud that our state’s telehealth investments have set such a high standard and that our state is taking the lead in expanding this effort nationally. I look forward to the continued partnership between UMMC and the Department of Health and Human Services to promote telehealth research and best practices in Mississippi and nationwide, and I stand ready to help this effort in any way I can.”

HRSA designated UMMC as a national Telehealth Center of Excellence to fulfill a directive included in the FY2017 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill. Congress directed HRSA to establish such centers to “to test the efficacy of telehealth services in both urban and rural geographic locations. The COE would operate varied sites of service, including patients’ homes; examine the benefits to student health of school-based telehealth; establish standards and best practices for various telehealth modes of delivery.”

Telehealth is proving to be an efficient and cost-effective way to improve access to care for underserved and rural populations, including veterans. The center of excellence model would facilitate: establishing standards and best practices for telehealth delivery, including real-time audio-visual, audio-only, store and forward telehealth, and remote patient monitoring; pilot new health care delivery models; and test innovative payment models to examine potential cost savings from telehealth to federal health care spending.