COVID-19 dropped out of the top five telehealth diagnoses nationally in September 2021, according to FAIR Health's Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker. In August, COVID-19 had been among the top five telehealth diagnoses nationally and in every US census region except the Northeast. In September, the only region in which COVID-19 ranked in the top five was the Midwest. The data represent the privately insured population, including Medicare Advantage and excluding Medicare Fee-for-Service and Medicaid.
For the second straight month, national telehealth utilization, measured as a percentage of all medical claim lines,1 grew by about two percent. Telehealth utilization rose nationally in September by 2.3 percent, increasing from 4.3 percent of medical claim lines in August to 4.4 percent in September, following a national rise of 2.4 percent in August. Telehealth utilization also grew in September in the Midwest and West, though there was no change in the South and a decrease in the Northeast.
From August to September 2021, mental health conditions, which remained the top-ranking telehealth diagnosis nationally and in every region, increased in percentage share of all telehealth claim lines nationally and in every region. This was a change from July to August 2021, when this diagnosis declined in percentage share of all telehealth claim lines nationally and in every region.
From August to September 2021, substance use disorders joined the top five telehealth diagnoses nationally, while rising from the fourth to third most common telehealth diagnosis in the Northeast. From August to September 2021, developmental disorders rose from fourth to third place in the top five telehealth diagnoses nationally. Similarly, this diagnosis rose in the rankings in every region except the South, where it was not among the top five in either August or September.
CPT®2 90833, psychotherapy performed with evaluation and management visit, 30 minutes, joined the top five telehealth procedure codes by utilization nationally in September 2021. Ranking at number five, it displaced CPT 99441, physician telephone patient service, five to ten minutes of medical discussion. This was a reversal of August 2021, when CPT 99441 displaced CPT 90833 in the rankings.
About the Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker
Launched in May 2020 as a free service, the Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker uses FAIR Health data to track how telehealth is evolving from month to month. An 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. Each infographic shows month-to-month changes in volume of telehealth claim lines, top five telehealth procedure codes and top five telehealth diagnoses (or diagnostic categories), along with that month's top five granular diagnoses within the most common diagnostic category.
FAIR Health President Robin Gelburd stated: "As the COVID-19 pandemic and telehealth utilization continue to evolve, FAIR Health's Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker serves as a window into that evolution. This is one of the many ways we pursue our healthcare transparency mission."
For the Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker, click here.