JAMA Network: Changes in In-Person, Audio-Only, and Video Visits in California’s Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), 2019-2022
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that audio-only telehealth continued to be used at higher rates than video visits in safety net clinics in California. Prior to March 2020, FQHCs rarely received reimbursement for telehealth services delivered into patients’ homes. However, pandemic-related regulatory waivers allowed many payers to reimburse FQHCs at the same rate for in-person, audio-only, and video visits. Most visits delivered by California FQHCs in 2020 were audio only. California FQHCs increased or maintained their visit volume with the transition to telehealth despite workforce loss. Telehealth likely improved the productivity of remaining staff.