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Telehealth Visits in Medicare Soar Amid Eased Restrictions

Dec. 3, 2021, 5:57 PM

Medicare telehealth visits increased 63-fold from roughly 840,000 in 2019 to 52.7 million in 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic caused beneficiaries to forgo in-person doctor visits in favor of virtual encounters, according to an HHS study.

Ninety-two percent of telehealth visits—which allow patients and providers to interact live via computer, tablet, or smartphone—took place from beneficiary homes, which was not allowed by Medicare before the pandemic. The massive increase in telehealth visits occurred while overall in-person visits to clinicians fell by 11% from 2019 to 2020.

“This report provides valuable insights into telehealth usage during the pandemic,” Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, administrator ...