The pandemic has caused a boost in telehealth utilization that continues to increase. According to FAIR Health’s Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker, the expansion of the Medicare telehealth industry had been on the rise for three straight months before January 2022.
Steady Increase in Telehealth Services
The tracker uses FAIR Health data to track how telehealth is evolving monthly in four US census regions regarding:
- The volume of claim lines
- Top five procedure codes
- Top five diagnoses
As expected, telehealth visits steadily increased, but interestingly, it has continued to increase as the pandemic is abating. Rising from 4.9% in December 2021 to 5.4% in January 2022, telehealth services have been increasing in every region of the US, with the West seeing the most significant growth of 17.5%. The most frequently used mental health CTP code was 90837 in all four census regions. COVID-related CPT codes were in second and third among the top five telehealth diagnoses.
Social Work Telehealth Leads the Pack
The regional telehealth tracker also examines the leading telehealth specialties in the nation. In January of 2022, social work telehealth was the leading specialist in every region of the nation except for the west. Primary care physician-led the pack in that region with a narrow margin of just 0.1% over social work telehealth, which ran a close second. Psychiatrists, psychologists, and primary care nonphysicians were in third, fourth, and fifth place.
There is no doubt that the telehealth industry is booming. With social work telehealth services taking the lead in providing healthcare, there will be a steady increase in demand for telehealth expertise and associated training, including free telehealth training and telehealth certification for social workers and other approved telehealth providers.
Medicare Telehealth Reimbursement
As predicted by Telehealth.org in the article, Future of Telehealth Reimbursement: Offering Medicare Telehealth Services? Medicare is poised to be the leading source of telehealth reimbursement in the US for the immediate to mid-term. Medicare telehealth offers providers a range of opportunities, including video telehealth, audio-only telehealth, and remote patient monitoring, assuming that the provider is on US soil when delivering care.
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