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How telehealth can answer demand for behavioral health services

Mental health services accounted for 31 percent of all diagnoses associated with telehealth claims in 2016, according to FAIR Health.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

Anne Marie Galanis of FAIR Health will talk about the use of telehealth for behavioral health services, during HIMSS19.Anne Marie Galanis of FAIR Health will talk about the use of telehealth for behavioral health services, during HIMSS19.

As healthcare faces a shortage of psychiatrists, the use of telehealth is growing to meet the demand for behavioral health services, particularly in rural areas.

This matters because FAIR Health data shows that mental health reasons accounted for 31 percent of all diagnoses associated with telehealth claim lines in 2016. Mental and behavioral disorders due to psychoactive substance abuse accounted that year for the largest share, 26 percent, of claim lines with behavioral health diagnoses in telehealth.

Yet telepsychiatry remains relatively new. Federal laws and new policies under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are loosing up restrictions to the expanded use of telehealth for behavioral health.

But regulations also vary from state-to-state. This varies utilization by region.

During HIMSS 19, Anne Marie Galanis, chief clinical officer for FAIR Health in New York City, will help providers and other stakeholders wade through the relevant trends in behavioral telehealth, including such aspects as utilization, diagnoses, procedures and costs, as well as geographic and demographic factors.

Galanis will show how claims data analysis can be used to study behavioral telehealth in support of public and private decision-making.

The independent, national, nonprofit FAIR Health is not a provider, but serves as a large repository of private healthcare claims data, to provide geographically specific information and analytics related to care, including telehealth. It has a national database of private claims for over 75 percent of the privately-insured population.

Healthcare claims data can help inform provider network design, FAIR Health said. And it allows states and other geographic regions to compare  utilization, patient migratory patterns and outcomes to identify patterns and opportunities.

Galanis will speak on "Telehealth and Rising Demand for Behavioral Healthcare, from 10-11 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 14, room 315A, in the Orlando County Convention Center, Orland, Florida.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
Email the writer: susan.morse@himssmedia.com

 

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