Medicare Report Reveals Medicare Telehealth Utilization, Barriers & Opportunities
In response to a requirement in the 21st Century Cures Act to issue a report on telehealth use, barriers and opportunities in Medicare, CMS released an informational report on November 15th addressing telehealth utilization, activities by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, and opportunities and barriers to the use of telehealth within Medicare. Utilizing data from Medicare fee-for-service between 2014 and 2016, the report revealed that although overall use of telehealth has increased, the rate of adoption is still limited. Mental health and therapy sessions were the most common service types, with beneficiaries with a mental health diagnosis among the highest utilizers of telehealth delivered services. Services targeting chronic diseases and behavior modification (such as smoking cessation) were also among the more popular telehealth delivered services. The analysis determined that there are 19 additional high volume services for outpatient and inpatient visits and therapy that are either similar to those that are already on Medicare’s list or that are typically provided in settings that do not meet Medicare’s originating site requirements that would be suitable for telehealth delivery. CMS concludes that restrictions on eligible telehealth originating sites is the greatest barrier preventing the expansion for telehealth within Medicare.
For more details and further statistics on telehealth in Medicare,
see the full report.