TAFA: HHS-OIG Reports Underscore Telehealth’s Critical Role in Improving Health Equity and the Need for Permanent Reform
Analysis Finds Urban and Hispanic Consumers More Likely to Take Advantage of Virtual Care, Seniors Utilizing Audio-Only to Access Care
Washington, D.C. – Telehealth Access for America (TAFA) issued the following statement in response to two reports released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Wednesday, Medicare Telehealth Services During the First Year of the Pandemic: Program Integrity Risks and Certain Medicare Beneficiaries, Such as Urban and Hispanic Beneficiaries, Were More Likely Than Others To Use Telehealth During the First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“The inspector general’s findings are the latest evidence that telehealth plays a critical role in breaking down historic barriers to health equity in underserved communities,” said TAFA spokesperson Julia Mirich. “The report found consumers living in urban areas, as well as Medicare beneficiaries who are Hispanic, younger, or women were able to take advantage of the expansion of virtual care and access these services at higher rates.”
“The OIG reports also found health care providers are properly billing Medicare for telehealth services utilized by seniors,” Mirich continued. “The analysis found no evidence of potentially concerning billing practices among 99.98 percent of health care providers offering telehealth services to Medicare beneficiaries.”
“These findings highlight the urgency for Congress to pass bipartisan solutions to protect access to virtual care for the millions of consumers who have come to rely on telehealth services during the pandemic,” Mirich said. “The House recently took a major step forward by passing a two-year extension of critical telehealth flexibilities with overwhelming support from Republicans and Democrats, the Senate must also act.”
ABOUT TELEHEALTH ACCESS FOR AMERICA
Telehealth Access for America (TAFA) is a public education campaign supported by leaders in health care committed to better care, expanded patient choice, and protecting access to critical telehealth services.
Learn more at www.telehealthaccessforamerica.org.