The importance of telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries during the COVID-19 pandemic


A new study published in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice describes the use of telehealth among Medicare beneficiaries during the COVID-19 pandemic and highlights its importance for providing care.

When patients and physicians were separated due to public health concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic, Medicare temporarily implemented payment policies for telehealth services on an emergency basis. Survey responses from 9,686 Medicare beneficiaries in the fall of 2020 indicated that more than half (58.3%) of primary care providers provided telehealth services, while only 26%–28% of specialists did. Overall, 38.3% of beneficiaries reported that they used either video or voice calls with their physicians, and only 7.6% reported that they were unable to get care because of COVID-19.

The findings indicate that telehealth provided important access to care in an uncertain, pandemic environment.

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