- Jonathan Linkous is stepping down as CEO of the American Telemedicine Association, after 24 years at the helm. An ATA spokesperson cited personal reasons, MedCity News reported.
- Sabrina Smith, who joined the organization as chief operating officer in January, will serve as interim CEO until a permanent replacement is found.
- In a statement, ATA Board President Peter Yellowlees praised Linkous’ contributions, saying “Jon was integral to the formation of the ATA and the telehealth industry.”
Use of telemedicine is expanding, with a growing number of health systems lining up to offer virtual care options. Benefits to patients include access to specialists, timeliness, convenience, lack of need for transportation and improved outcomes.
According to a Rural Broadband Association analysis, telehealth saves hospitals about $20,841 annually, and that figure could top $100,000 for some rural hospitals. But still, significant barriers remain, including a patchwork of state licensing requirements for telehealth providers and ensuring patient privacy.
Under Linkous, the ATA worked to expand awareness of and access to telemedicine, break down state licensing barriers and increase coverage by government and private payers. Earlier this year, the ATA reported that all state Medicaid agencies now cover some form of telemedicine.
Recently, the ATA released practice guidelines on the use of telemedicine in stroke assessment and mental health services for children and adolescents. Both sets were developed by expert workgroups based on clinical and empirical research.