In 2013, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
awarded Lugar Center/Union Hospital with an EB-TNGP grant. The Evidenced Based Tele-Emergency Department Network Grant Program (EB-TNGP) is an initiative that tasks grant recipients to implement telehealth policies and practices in Emergency Departments in rural hospitals. In turn, the grant recipients collect specific data around patients including their diagnosis, the cost of care, the length of their stay at the emergency department and insurance information. The data is contributed to the National Telehealth Research Center at the University of Iowa who is conducting a national study to report the findings of the grant. These findings will be integral in informing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) the future efficiency and efficacy of Telehealth in the Emergency Department.
Since 2007, the Lugar Center has implemented telehealth processes in rural hospitals in the WVRTN. The EB-TNGP enabled the WVRTN the ability to expand specialties to more spoke sites. Through the Wabash Valley Rural Telehealth Network the Lugar Center has implemented both Teleneurology and Telebehavioral Health in four rural critical access hospitals in the Wabash Valley. Teleneurology has also been implemented additionally in three other hospitals scattered throughout the state and are expected to launch more sites in 2018 in Kentucky and Illinois.
The Lugar Center’s cohort is the only grantee who is reporting Telebehavioral Health consults to the study at the National Telehealth Research Center at the University of Iowa. At the end of 2017 the Lugar Center reported over 430 unique cases that qualify for the study. Those encounters that occurred outside of the Emergency Department and if the patient did not/could not (age) consent were not reported to the study although those patients did receive the telehealth services. The grant period extends to August of 2018.