If there’s a silver lining to the cloud that the COVID-19 pandemic cast over the medical community in 2020, it’s the growth in telemedicine to handle medical visits via computer video and telephone, particularly by seniors.
As hospitals and doctor offices restricted in-person visits during the early weeks of the pandemic, physicians and patients turned to telemedicine as a means to deliver and access healthcare.
In January 2020 telemedicine claims ran around 15,000. By April, they’d exploded to 1.7 million. Facilitating that growth was the March 17, 2020, decision by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to begin reimbursing providers for the visits.
A recent examination by Stat News of 30 million Medicare claims was done to determine if there were any unusual trends related to seniors. The analysis identified three surprising trends.
First, telemedicine visits decreased sharply after peaking at 2 million visits in May 2020. It’s since down 60%.
Second, 1 out of 10 seniors used only telephone calls for visits. Concerns have been raised regarding the quality of care that can be delivered by just phone calls.
Third, there was no variation related to race or ethnicity, and no disparity in care was detected.
Council of Seniors Wants to Stretch Your Benefits
Extra income can certainly help with healthcare costs. Council of Seniors is working hard to get Congress to consider and pass The SAVE Benefits Act. We need this bill to make up for the inadequate annual Social Security cost of living adjustment (COLA) over a series of years that’s robbed you of what you deserve. With its passage, seniors will be reimbursed the missing $581.
Take time right away to sign our petition.