September 8, 2022
Health IT
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released two data briefs examining Medicare telehealth usage during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. One report found that dually eligible, Hispanic, and urban Medicare beneficiaries were more likely to use telehealth than others. It also found that one-fifth of beneficiaries relied on audio-only telehealth services and that beneficiaries almost always used telehealth from home or other non-health care settings. A second report revealed that only a fraction of certified Medicare providers – about 1,714 out of 742,000 — billed for telehealth in a way that indicated high risk of fraud, waste, or abuse. The OIG recommended that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) closely monitor the risky providers, make billing more transparent, and bolster its efforts to track these concerning billing practices. (Usage data brief here; Program integrity data brief here)