Aug 7, 2021
Since March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the delivery of health care in Colorado and across the country. One of the big shifts has been a rapid increase in services delivered via telemedicine, especially during the early days of the pandemic when strict stay-at-home restrictions were in place. To support greater use of telemedicine, the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) expanded the number of Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid program) services allowable for reimbursement and permitted more providers to be reimbursed for this modality. These changes were made, however, without the benefit of extensive research on telemedicine’s efficacy, the services most suited for this modality, its effects on access to care, whether it ameliorates or exacerbates already existing inequalities, and its impact on costs. To help fill these research gaps and to support HCPF’s understanding of the impact of the new telemedicine policies, the Farley Health Policy Center evaluated medical appointment no-show rates, utilization and diagnoses for emergency department and primary care utilization, likelihood of a follow-up visit depending on visit modality, and preliminary budget implications.
Read the report: The Impact of Telemedicine Policy Changes on Health First Colorado Utilization and Costs