- Fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries adopted telehealth for primary care at unprecedented rates as COVID-19 spread in the U.S., according to a new HHS report.
- The report, released Tuesday by HHS’ Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, analyzed claims data from January through early June and found FFS Medicare beneficiaries’ use of in-person primary care fell sharply mid-March, while telehealth visits steadily ticked up to make up the deficit. Almost half — 43.5% — of all Medicare primary care visits were being conducted through telehealth in April. That’s up from just 0.1% in February.
- Both rural and urban areas saw an increase in use, though it was more marked in urban counties. Providers in rural counties saw a smaller increase in virtual care visits as a proportion of all primary care visits in March and April, and a decrease in May. By comparison, providers in urban counties saw greater virtual care use in March and April and a smaller dip in May.