United States Census Bureau to Track Telemedicine Visits

Original Source: Center for Connected Health Policy

The U.S. Census Bureau recently announced that it will submit a proposal for changes to the Service Annual Survey to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Within the announcement, the Census Bureau estimates that mental health professionals have been increasing their use of telemedicine during the current opioid crisis and expects more providers to deliver services via telemedicine as insurance coverage for telemedicine delivered  services increases. Therefore, they propose to begin measuring telemedicine as part of a yearly questionnaire administered to service businesses.

Development of the questions is not complete and has yet to be tested.  It is unclear whether the questions will focus on mental health specifically or be broader.  It is also unclear whether this survey would be directed to individual providers, health systems, hospitals, clinics, etc. or all of the above.  Once the questions clear testing, they will be implemented in the Annual Services Reports forms SA-62000A/E, SA-62150A/E, and SA-62190A/E. These surveys collect data from service businesses on revenue and expenses. The questions will expand on the current patient visits question, which appeared in the 2017 version of the questionnaire as, “What was the total number of patient encounters in 2017, including office based visits, home based visits, tele-health visits, and visits in other health care settings?”

The Census Bureau is seeking comments and recommendations for the proposal, which may be sent to OIRA_Submissions@omb.eop.gov or faxed to (202)395-5806 by August 30th, 2018.
The full notice may be accessed through the Federal Register.