- The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) released two new reports regarding Medicaid programs and the expansion of telehealth for behavioral health services.
- States reported high utilization of telehealth for behavioral health care across all or most populations served by Medicaid.
- Even if the US population is utilizing telehealth to access behavioral health services, nearly half of the population – 47 percent, or 158 million people – live in a mental health workforce shortage area.
The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) released two reports regarding Medicaid programs and the expansion of telehealth for behavioral health services. According to the KFF, most state Medicaid programs intend to keep pandemic-era expansions in telehealth for these services. These programs also adopt strategies to address workforce shortages in this healthcare field.
The supplement added that forty state Medicaid programs newly allowed or expanded audio-only telehealth services for behavioral health in 2022. Also, 39 grew the types of behavioral health services eligible for telehealth delivery.
In addition, 28 states expanded the behavioral health provider types eligible to deliver Medicaid services via telehealth.
Here are some of the primary Medicaid telehealth services for behavioral health findings included in one report:
States reported high utilization of telehealth for behavioral health care across all or most populations served by Medicaid. Some states found utilization was higher in rural areas, among younger enrollees or White individuals.
The US population is utilizing telehealth to access behavioral health services. However, nearly half of the population – 47 percent, or 158 million people – live in a mental health workforce shortage area.
“Workforce challenges are widespread and go beyond Medicaid, but shortages may be worsened in Medicaid, particularly given low participation rates among mental health providers,” the KFF added in the supplement.
The second report included findings regarding some state Medicaid programs’ strategies to address the workforce shortage, including:
- Extending the workforce by reimbursing for new provider types, loosening restrictions on in-person requirements, and targeting outreach to recruit new providers.
- Incentivizing provider participation by adopting prompt payment policies and loan repayment measures.
- Reducing administrative burdens through steps that may include streamlining documentation, centralizing enrollment processes, and asking providers for their thoughts on Medicaid’s administrative process.
- Increasing provider reimbursement rates—two-thirds of responding states reported rate increases, which may encourage providers to participate in Medicaid.
Read the complete supplement here.
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