Telehealth Is on the Rise

Telehealth is gaining in usage, says a new report, but there are still some barriers in place that are hindering wider implementation.

Telehealth is gaining in usage, or so found the State of the States Report: Coverage and Reimbursement from the American Telemedicine Association. However, there are still some barriers in place that are hindering wider implementation.

The report, which offers an in-depth analysis of telehealth laws and policies, was released last week, along with a statement from the ATA. In the statement, Ann Mond Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of the ATA, said, “This year’s ATA report illustrates the increasing recognition of telehealth, and can guide federal and state lawmakers to identify and address policy gaps. Collectively, states are realizing the many benefits of telehealth and are implementing policies that advance utilization.”

Key findings from the ATA report include:

  • The eight most common types of telehealth providers include physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, licensed mental health professionals, psychologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and dentists.
  • Since 2017, when the ATA issued their last report, 40 states and the District of Columbia have adopted telehealth policies or have received awards to expand telehealth coverage and reimbursement.
  • 36 states and D.C. have parity policies for private payer coverage, and only 21 states and D.C. have coverage parity policies in Medicaid.
  • 28 states have Medicaid payment parity policies, and only 16 mandate payment parity for private payers.
  • The majority of states have no restrictions on eligible provider types; ten states have authorized six or more types of providers to treat patients through telehealth.
  • Currently, 29 states do not specify where a patient must be located in order to receive care via telehealth.

“It’s clear that more states are adopting telehealth solutions, but some lack the authority or resources needed to fully deploy telehealth across the state. ATA supports expanding research opportunities to increase innovation and reduce costs, to help incentivize states to continue to adopt telehealth services,” added Mond Johnson.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.