Telehealth Reach Limited by Biannual In-Person Visit Mandate

July 20, 2021, 8:50 AM

Medicare beneficiaries would see increased access to telehealth for mental health treatment under a Biden administration proposed rule, a positive step that advocates say is limited by a law requiring occasional in-person visits.

The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated rates of anxiety and depression, substance use, and suicidal thoughts, according to a 2020 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The proposed rule would extend Medicare’s coverage of some telehealth services—expanded last year because of Covid-19 social distancing needs—through Dec. 31, 2023.

The proposed changes would address the strong demand for mental health care as illnesses from the delta ...

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