Telehealth declined nationally in February, Fair Health finds.

Article By:  Brian T. Horowitz

Blog Source From : https://www.healthcaredive.com

Dive Brief:

  • U.S. telehealth use totaled 5.5% of medical claim lines in February, a drop of 6.8% from January, according to Fair Health’s monthly telehealth tracker.
  • In February, telehealth use declined in the four U.S. census regions: It dropped by 8.7% in the Midwest, 8.3% in the South, 6.2% in the West and 1.5% in the Northeast.
  • COVID-19 dropped out of the top five telehealth diagnoses nationally. The top diagnosis on telehealth claim lines was mental health conditions.

Dive Insight:

The decline of telehealth use in February followed a reported increase in January for the third straight month, according to Fair Health.

The top five diagnoses in telehealth claim lines were mental health conditions, acute respiratory diseases and infections, joint/soft tissue diseases and issues, developmental disorders and endocrine and metabolic disorders. The most common asynchronous telehealth diagnosis was acute respiratory diseases and infections at 26%.

Sharing monthly telehealth data is an important way to maintain healthcare transparency, according to Fair Health President Robin Gelburd.

“We welcome sharing these varying windows into telehealth utilization as it continues to evolve,” Gelburd said in a statement. “This is one of the many ways we pursue our healthcare transparency mission.”

However, the CDC said it plans to stop tracking COVID-19 in U.S. communities. It will track hospitalizations in some areas instead, CNN reported.

Telehealth use was strong at the end of 2022 despite fluctuations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Telehealth use dropped 76% from 2020 to 2021 as people returned to in-person medical visits, Fair Health recently said.

A drop in telehealth use coincides with economic headwinds for telehealth providers. Amwell said it lost nearly $400 million in the first quarter of 2023. It also received a $330.3 million impairment charge in the first quarter.

Despite the decline in telehealth use and the upcoming end of the COVID-19 public health emergency on May 11, the Drug Enforcement Agency announced on Wednesday that it would extend telemedicine prescribing flexibilities for controlled medication like Adderall and oxycodone.

Health IT, Telehealth

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