Tele-Truths: Telehealth is a Cost-Saver for the Health Care System that Improves Access to Quality Care
Recent reports have raised concerns regarding the cost and implementation of virtual care. As Congress debates the future of permanent access to telehealth for patients nationwide, it’s important to take a look at the tele-truths – that telehealth is a cost-saver that improves quality, equitable care – to inform this decision-making. Below, Telehealth Access for America (TAFA) dismantles myths surrounding virtual care cost, fraud, and abuse.
FACT: Telehealth Can Drive Savings For The Health Care System & Patients
- Telehealth expands access to health care without increased costs to taxpayers, with average patients utilizing telehealth seeing a 61 percent decrease in health care expenses from January 2020 to February 2021. (Progressive Policy Institute, Telehealth Saves Money and Lives: Lessons From The COVID-19 Pandemic, November 2021)
- An analysis of stroke treatment in one network of 137 hospitals found the availability of telehealth services resulted in a savings of $3.5 million — for just that one diagnosis. (National Conference of State Legislatures, Increasing Access to Health Care Through Telehealth, May 2019)
- Telehealth tools helped cut hospital emergency department costs by more than 30 percent. (Telemedicine and e-Health – Mary Ann Lieber, Inc., Publishers, Do Hospitals Providing Telehealth in Emergency Departments Have Lower Emergency Department Costs?, September 6, 2021)
- Patients can save as much as $19 to $121 each telehealth visit. (American Journal of Emergency Medicine, On-Demand Synchronous Audio Video Telemedicine Visits Are Cost Effective, August 2018)
- In a survey of more than 2,200 physicians, 44 percent said telehealth decreases care costs. (American Medical Association, Telehealth Resource Center: Research Findings, March 2022)
FACT: Telehealth Providers & Law Enforcement Have Safeguards To Prevent & Address Abuse & Fraud
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) has stated telehealth does not lead to increased rates of fraud. Bad actors using telecommunication services to perpetrate ‘telefraud’ should not be conflated with the legitimate practice of telemedicine or imply that telehealth services are at greater risk of abuse than in-person services under Medicare. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General, Principal Deputy Inspector General Grimm on Telehealth, February 26, 2021)
- The same algorithms that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) uses to detect fraud for in-person care are also applicable to telehealth, and many individual telehealth providers have enacted cybersecurity, ransomware, and privacy practices to ensure a safe experience. (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Investing In Data & Analytics)
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.