Texas Governor Greg Abbott said he wants to permanently expand access to telemedicine services that have surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, Abbott lifted certain regulations on the types of health care services that can be offered over the phone or through video calls. He also issued an emergency rule to compensate health care providers for telemedicine visits at the same rate as an in-person visit.
In this week’s State of the State address, he urged the Texas legislature to pass new laws to require full coverage of telemedicine services for state-regulated plans, like those obtained through the Affordable Care Act marketplace, and Medicaid. “We should seize the opportunity this session to permanently expand telemedicine so that every Texan in every region of the state can benefit,” Abbott said
75% of providers who use telehealth services expect their telehealth volume to increase or stay the same during the next 12 months
Public health providers are more likely (44%) to use telehealth than all other practice types (21%)
Among providers, the report found that those in public health settings used telehealth the most, along with those in states like Pennsylvania, Washington, Florida, Kentucky and Arizona — likely as a result of favorable payment and coverage policies in those states. Additionally, providers who are not seeing their patient volume return to near-normal levels, serve primarily Medicaid patients and anticipate long-term changes in dentistry were more likely to embrace telehealth. Dentists with more than half Medicaid patents were 39% more likely to use telehealth platforms.
“Telehealth brings a wide range of benefits to the future of oral health care. It is key to expanding value-based care in our communities and improving outcomes for both oral health and overall health,” said Dr. Myechia Minter-Jordan, president and CEO of the DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement and Catalyst Institute, Inc. “As we continue to leverage telehealth as a short-term solution for the pandemic, we must ensure its longevity to make it part of the dental ecosystem moving forward. That means taking the necessary steps right now to remove barriers that may prevent the widespread adoption or utilization of telehealth in the future.”