Telehealth Use Among Safety-Net Organizations in California During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Published in: Journal of the American Medical Association (February 2020). doi: 10.1001/jama.2021.0282

Posted on RAND.org on February 04, 2021

by Lori Uscher-Pines, Jessica L. Sousa, Maggie Jones, Christopher M. Whaley, Christopher Perrone, Colleen M. McCullough, Allison J. Ober

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Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) are outpatient health centers that provide comprehensive primary care to 30 million low-income individuals. When the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic began in March 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) granted flexibilities to FQHCs to furnish video and telephone (audio only) visits to patients at any location. Pandemic-related regulatory waivers led to a substantial increase in telehealth across the health care system.

Little is known about visit trends during the COVID-19 pandemic among patients of FQHCs. We described trends in the use of in-person, telephone, and video visits among California FQHCs before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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