- Telehealth sessions comprised 5.4% of claim lines in June, the same amount as the prior month, according to Fair Health’s Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker.
- Mental health conditions continued to top the list of Fair Health’s five most common telehealth diagnoses for June. The median allowed amount billed for a one-hour psychotherapy visit was $103.
- But Fair Health’s tracker showed regional variations. Although telehealth use decreased overall by 2.4% in the Midwest, asynchronous telehealth claim lines for mental health conditions more than doubled in the region from 15.9% in May to 36% in June. In asynchronous telehealth, providers collect data or medical images for review, instead of meeting with a patient in real time.
Telehealth visits have dropped since reaching historic highs during the COVID-19 pandemic, when virtual visits grew by more than 7,000% from 2020 compared to 2019, spurred in part by federal telehealth flexibilities.
In June, a group of 60 bipartisan senators reintroduced the CONNECT for Health Act. The bill would permanently remove geographic restrictions on telehealth services, expand originating sites to include the home, and allow health centers and rural health clinics to provide telehealth. The bill would also cut a six-month in-person requirement for telemental healthcare.
An increase in telehealth care has also led to a rise in mental health treatment altogether, according to a study published in JAMA Health Forum.
Although telehealth use among mental health patients on asynchronous claim lines increased in the Fair Health tracker, a Rand study published on Tuesday in Health Affairs revealed that many behavioral health patients don’t have a choice between in-person or telehealth care because their clinicians offer only one modality.
Other findings from Fair Health’s regional tracker in June include a national increase in joint and soft tissue diseases diagnoses and a decrease in acute respiratory diseases and infections.
Fair Health’s data represents the privately insured population, including Medicare Advantage. The data excludes data from Medicare fee-for-service and Medicaid.