Social Worker Was the Leading Telehealth Specialty Nationally in January 2022
FAIR Health's Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker Introduces New Features in Its Third Year, including Telehealth Cost Corner
NEW YORK, April 6, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- For the third straight month, national telehealth utilization, measured as a percentage of all medical claim lines, grew in January 2022, according to FAIR Health's Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker.1 As the wave of cases related to the Omicron variant of COVID-19 continued, telehealth utilization increased 10.2 percent, from 4.9 percent of all medical claim lines in December 2021 to 5.4 percent in January 2022. Telehealth utilization also increased in January in every US census region (Midwest, Northeast, South and West), with the greatest increase (17.5 percent) in the West. The data represent the privately insured population, including Medicare Advantage and excluding Medicare Fee-for-Service and Medicaid.
With January 2022, FAIR Health's Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker enters its third year of reporting on the evolution of telehealth from month to month. As before, a free, 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.
This third year brings notable changes to the Tracker. In the first year, to study the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on telehealth, each month in 2020 was compared to the corresponding month in 2019. In the second year, the focus turned to monthly rather than year-over-year changes. The third year adds new features: the top five telehealth specialties and the Telehealth Cost Corner, which presents a specific telehealth procedure code with its median charge amount and median allowed amount.2 Continuing from previous years are the percent change in telehealth's percentage of medical claim lines, the top five telehealth procedure codes and the top five telehealth diagnoses.
In January 2022, social worker was the leading telehealth specialty nationally and in every region but the West, where primary care physician was the leading telehealth specialty, 0.1 percent ahead of social worker. In every other region and nationally, primary care physician was in second place behind social worker. Nationally, psychiatrist, psychologist and primary care nonphysician were in third, fourth and fifth place, respectively.
For January 2022, the Telehealth Cost Corner spotlighted the cost of CPT®3 92507, treatment of speech, language, voice, communication and/or hearing processing disorder. Nationally, the median charge amount for this service when rendered via telehealth was $129.92, and the median allowed amount was $77.64. The costs varied by region. For example, the highest median allowed amount was $88.47 in the Midwest, and the lowest $69.50 in the South.
In January 2022, COVID-19 continued to rank at number two or three among the top five telehealth diagnoses nationally and in all regions. Its share of telehealth claim lines, however, fell in all locations but the West, where the share remained the same. Mental health conditions remained in first place nationally and in all regions, but certain other diagnoses changed. Developmental disorders, for example, rejoined the top five diagnoses in the Northeast after a month off the list, and encounter for examination rejoined the top five in the South after a month off that list.
In January 2022, CPT 90837, one hour of psychotherapy, was in first place among telehealth procedure codes nationally and in every region. CPT 90833, psychotherapy with evaluation and management visit, 30 minutes, rejoined the top five procedure codes nationally and in the Midwest after a month off those lists. It remained in the top five in the Northeast and West but was not on the list in the South in either December or January.
FAIR Health President Robin Gelburd stated: "As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its third year, FAIR Health begins our third year of tracking the evolution of telehealth. Once again, we have modified our Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker to keep pace with the changing needs of stakeholders for current information about this venue of care."
For the Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker, click here.
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FAIR Health is a national, independent nonprofit organization that qualifies as a public charity under section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code. It is dedicated to bringing transparency to healthcare costs and health insurance information through data products, consumer resources and health systems research support. FAIR Health possesses the nation's largest collection of private healthcare claims data, which includes over 36 billion claim records and is growing at a rate of over 2 billion claim records a year. FAIR Health licenses its privately billed data and data products—including benchmark modules, data visualizations, custom analytics and market indices—to commercial insurers and self-insurers, employers, providers, hospitals and healthcare systems, government agencies, researchers and others. Certified by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as a national Qualified Entity, FAIR Health also receives data representing the experience of all individuals enrolled in traditional Medicare Parts A, B and D; FAIR Health includes among the private claims data in its database, data on Medicare Advantage enrollees. FAIR Health can produce insightful analytic reports and data products based on combined Medicare and commercial claims data for government, providers, payors and other authorized users. FAIR Health's systems for processing and storing protected health information have earned HITRUST CSF certification and achieved AICPA SOC 2 compliance by meeting the rigorous data security requirements of these standards. As a testament to the reliability and objectivity of FAIR Health data, the data have been incorporated in statutes and regulations around the country and designated as the official, neutral data source for a variety of state health programs, including workers' compensation and personal injury protection (PIP) programs. FAIR Health data serve as an official reference point in support of certain state balance billing laws that protect consumers against bills for surprise out-of-network and emergency services. FAIR Health also uses its database to power a free consumer website available in English and Spanish, which enables consumers to estimate and plan for their healthcare expenditures and offers a rich educational platform on health insurance. An English/Spanish mobile app offers the same educational platform in a concise format and links to the cost estimation tools. The website has been honored by the White House Summit on Smart Disclosure, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), URAC, the eHealthcare Leadership Awards, appPicker, Employee Benefit News and Kiplinger's Personal Finance. FAIR Health also is named a top resource for patients in Dr. Marty Makary's book The Price We Pay: What Broke American Health Care—and How to Fix It and Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal's book An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back. For more information on FAIR Health, visit fairhealth.org.
1 A claim line is an individual service or procedure listed on an insurance claim.
2 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).
3 CPT © 2021 American Medical Association (AMA). All rights reserved.
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