43% of Medicare beneficiaries used telehealth services in 1st year of pandemic 

A March 15 HHS Office of the Inspector General report concluded telehealth was critical for providing services to Medicare beneficiaries during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

5 things to know:

1. More than 28 million of the 66 million Medicare beneficiaries, or 43 percent, used a telehealth service between March 2020 and February 2021. During the previous year, only 341,000 beneficiaries used telehealth.  

2. Use of telehealth peaked in April 2020 and decreased through the late spring, summer and fall before briefly increasing in December 2020.

3. Despite a significant increase in telehealth use, most care was received in person. Telehealth represented 12 percent of all services in the first year of the pandemic, according to the report. 

4. Telehealth was used for behavioral health at a significantly higher rate than other services. During that one-year period, 43 percent of behavioral health services were conducted via telehealth. Home visits had the second highest rate at 17 percent. 

5. Beneficiaries most often used telehealth services for routine appointments with a primary care provider or specialist, according to the report.
Read the full report here


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