Health Affairs May 23, 2024
Aleyah Johnson, Tonantzin E. Juarez, Jessica McCann, Rebecca L. Emery Tavernier, Tichianaa Armah

The COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) enabled widespread access to psychiatric care through virtual visits by video and voice. Inadvertently, the unique flexibility offered by voice-based visits (e.g., those offered by phone) increased access to care for groups historically underrepresented and underserved in mental health care. Specifically, individuals who identify as Hispanic or non-Hispanic Black, are age 45 or older, do not speak English with proficiency, have a low income, are insured through Medicaid/Medicare, lack insurance, or live in rural areas have substantially benefited from the availability of voice-based telemental health. Beyond improving accessibility to mental health care, voice-based telepsychiatry (VBT) simultaneously allows providers to offer treatment at their patients’ convenience, increase appointment flexibility, and reduce missed appointments or loss...

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Topics: CMS, Digital Health, Govt Agencies, HHS, Mental Health, Patient / Consumer, Provider, States, Technology, Telehealth
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