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In April 2022, COVID-19 Returned to the National Top Five Telehealth Diagnoses for First Time since January

Telehealth Utilization Grew Nationally in April 2022 after Two Months of Decline, according to FAIR Health’s Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker

NEW YORK, NY—July 6, 2022—In April 2022, COVID-19 returned to the top five telehealth diagnoses nationally for the first time since January, according to FAIR Health’s Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker. COVID-19 also returned to the list of top five telehealth diagnoses in every US census region except the South; it had been off the list in all four regions (Midwest, Northeast, South and West) since January. The data represent the privately insured population, including Medicare Advantage and excluding Medicare Fee-for-Service and Medicaid. The reappearance of COVID-19 on the national and regional lists coincided with a rise in COVID-19 cases in April reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Also in April 2022, telehealth utilization, as measured by telehealth’s share of all medical claim lines, grew nationally and in every region after two months of decline, according to the Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker1. National telehealth utilization increased 6.5 percent, from 4.6 percent of medical claim lines in March to 4.9 percent in April. Regionally, the greatest increase was in the South, where telehealth utilization grew 11.8 percent in April. The rise in telehealth utilization may have been due to the growth in the reported number of COVID-19 cases, which may have led more patients to avoid in-person care.

Diagnoses

Various other diagnoses dropped off the lists as the share of COVID-19 diagnoses increased. Nationally, substance use disorders fell off the list; in the Midwest and Northeast, joint/soft tissue diseases and issues did so; and in the West, endocrine and metabolic disorders did so. In all regions and nationally, mental health conditions remained the top-ranking telehealth diagnosis.

Specialties

The rankings of the top five telehealth specialties did not change nationally or regionally in April 2022 when compared to March 2022, with social worker remaining the top-ranking telehealth specialty in all regions and nationally. But primary care physician increased its percentage share of telehealth claim lines by about one percent nationally and in the Northeast and South.

Procedure Codes

In April 2022, the rankings of the top five telehealth procedure codes did not change nationally or in any region when compared to the prior two months. The number one telehealth procedure code nationally and in every region remained CPT®2 90837, one-hour psychotherapy.

Costs

For April 2022, the Telehealth Cost Corner spotlighted the cost of CPT 90832, 30-minute psychotherapy. Nationally, the median charge amount for this service when rendered via telehealth was $115.40, and the median allowed amount was $64.84. 3

About the Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker

Launched in May 2020 as a free service, the Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker uses FAIR Health data to track how telehealth is evolving from month to month. An interactive map of the four US census regions allows the user to view an infographic on telehealth in a specific month in the nation as a whole or in individual regions. Each infographic shows month-to-month changes in telehealth’s percentage of medical claim lines, as well as that month’s top five telehealth procedure codes, diagnoses and specialties. Additionally, in the Telehealth Cost Corner, a specific telehealth procedure code is featured, with its median charge amount and median allowed amount.

FAIR Health President Robin Gelburd stated: “We welcome sharing these varying windows into telehealth utilization as it continues to evolve. This is one of the many ways we pursue our healthcare transparency mission.”

For the Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker, click here.

1 A claim line is an individual service or procedure listed on an insurance claim.

2 CPT © 2021 American Medical Association (AMA). All rights reserved.

3 A charge amount is the provider’s undiscounted fee, which a patient may have to pay when the patient is uninsured, or when the patient chooses to go to a provider who does not belong to the patient’s plan’s network. An allowed amount is the total fee paid to the provider under an insurance plan. It includes the amount that the health plan pays and the part the patient pays under the plan’s in-network cost-sharing provisions (e.g., copay or coinsurance if the patient has met the deductible).

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