Telehealth use in fee-for-service Medicare up 50% since 2014: 5 things to know

CMS released a report to Congress Nov. 15 detailing telehealth utilization in Medicare.

The report, which CMS was required to compile under the 21st Century Cures Act, analyzed Medicare claims in the fee-for-service population between 2013 and 2016. Each program year comprised data from approximately 35 million beneficiaries.

Here are five report highlights:

1. During the study period, 90,000 of the 35 million beneficiaries had engaged in a telehealth service.  

2. Overall, telehealth use increased 50 percent in fee-for-service Medicare from 2014 to 2016.

3. Beneficiaries in Texas accessed the most telehealth services in 2016, followed by Iowa and California.

4. Here are the top three diagnoses for Medicare beneficiaries receiving telehealth services in 2016:

  • Major depressive disorder, recurrent
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizoaffective disorders

5. Here are the three telehealth services that experienced the largest percent change in utilization from 2014 to 2016:

  • Neurobehavioral status examination (709.1 percent)
  • Subsequent nursing facility care services, with the limitation of one telehealth visit every 30 days (186.5 percent)
  • Individual psychotherapy (170.2 percent)

To access the complete report, click here.

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