White House Office of National Drug Control Policy: ONDCP Announces Report on Improving Telehealth Services for Substance Use Disorder
(6/22) – The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released the Telehealth and Substance Use Disorder Services in the Era of Covid-19: Review and Recommendations
report. The report by the Legislative Analysis and Public Policy Association (LAPPA) found telehealth services can provide increased access to vulnerable individuals with substance use disorder, decrease costs, and reduce the spread of communicable diseases. The report makes several recommendations, including to expand and make consistent current state and federal telehealth policies, and for federal support of mutual recognition and reciprocity of state licenses. For additional coverage, see Bloomberg Law
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA): Evaluation of the Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies (RMOMS) Program: 2019 Cohort (6/9) – The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) released the second annual report evaluating the Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies (RMOMS) Program, the first cohort of which completed its first year of implementation last August. The program uses a network approach to coordinate and improve telehealth services to increase access to care in rural areas, among others. Program awardees laid the groundwork for expanded telehealth, which they consistently identified as a major focus area to improve maternal health access. Implementation delays have pushed such efforts into the next implementation year, however all three networks made progress on telehealth initiatives during this first implementation year.
HHS Office of the Inspector General: Spring 2022 Semiannual Report to Congress, Highlights Telehealth Use Among Medicare Beneficiaries (6/6) -The HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released its Spring 2022 Semiannual Report to Congress, which highlights nearly $3 billion in expected recoveries as a result of HHS-OIG audits and investigations and provides an overview of HHS-OIG activities from October 1, 2021 through March 31, 2022. Notably, the report highlights the OIG finding that from March through December 2020, 84 percent of Medicare beneficiaries received telehealth services from providers with whom they had an established relationship, among other findings.
Government Accountability Office: National Strategy Needed to Guide Federal Efforts to Reduce Digital Divide (5/31) – The Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report on broadband, which recommends the White House to develop and implement a national broadband strategy with clear roles, goals, objectives, and performance measures to support better management of fragmented, overlapping federal broadband programs and synchronize coordination efforts. Increased broadband access would help underserved populations virtually access essential health care services, such as telehealth. (Note that the Biden Administration announced a major broadband initiative several weeks ago that is likely not captured)
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention: National Health Statistics Report Shows Telemedicine Use in Children Age 0-17 (5/10) – The CDC found that, in the second half of 2020, only 14.1 percent of children used telehealth due to the pandemic, but use was higher among those with asthma, a developmental condition, or a disability. In total, about 12.6 million children, or 17.5 percent, used telehealth in the past 12 months, which included a period before the COVID-19 pandemic. Approximately 10.2 million children, or 14.1 percent, used telehealth due to the COVID-19 pandemic. About 23.5 percent of children with asthma used telehealth because of the pandemic compared with 13.6 percent of those without asthma. Similarly, 32.5 percent and 29.8 percent of children with a current developmental condition and a disability, respectively, used telemedicine due to the pandemic.
Health Affairs: Medicare and Telehealth – Delivering on Innovation’s Promise for Equity, Quality, Access and Sustainability (5/1) – The COVID-19 pandemic profoundly changed health care. Policy makers and health care leaders must evaluate the lessons learned from the pandemic and leverage telehealth innovations with an eye toward how such changes can advance health equity; drive high-quality, high-value, person-centered care; and promote affordability and sustainability. This report explores these topics in more detail.
HHS OIG Releases New Report on Medicare Telehealth Services During the Pandemic (3/17) – On March 17, 2022, the HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a new report examining the use of telehealth services in Medicare during the first year of the pandemic, declaring that telehealth was critical during this time period for Medicare beneficiaries. The report also looks at the growth of telehealth services, the types of telehealth services most commonly used, and the extent to which beneficiaries also used in-person services.
ASPE Report: Medicare Beneficiaries’ Use of Telehealth in 2020: Trends by Beneficiary Characteristics and Location (1/3) – Telehealth services expanded rapidly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using data from the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey (HPS) in 2021, this Issue Brief analyzes national trends in telehealth utilization across all payers and examines how use of video-enabled vs. audio-only telehealth services differ across patient populations. The study finds notable disparities by race, ethnicity, income, age, and insurance status in access to video-enabled telehealth.