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Snapshot: 2021 telemedicine report

Workers’ Compensation Research and Evaluation Group

DWC adopted 28 Texas Administrative Code §133.30 on September 1, 2018, in an effort to expand injured employees’ access to telemedicine services. This report examines trends in telemedicine services in the Texas workers’ compensation system since 2018. Specifically, this report compares the use and cost of these services before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report also compares telemedicine use for network and non-network claims. Findings from this report provide a baseline to track future changes in the utilization and cost of telemedicine services for injured employees in Texas.

Read the full report.

Published: October 2021 by the Workers' Compensation Research & Evaluation Group.

951 claims receiving telemedicine service pre-pandemic. 21.086 claims using telemedicine during pandemic. 45–54-year-olds using the most telemedicine services during pandemic 69% of telemedicine service are office visits.
Telemedicine utilization was low until March 2020, when the pandemic hit. Utilization increased again as the DWC emergency rule 28 TAC §167.1 took effect in April 2020, to expand access to telerehabilitation services, but then declined rapidly as Texas began reopening efforts.
Number of telemedicine services by year and month, September 2018 (16 services) through February 2021 (3,705 services). The high point was April 2020 (12,743 services).
During the pandemic, more men and older injured employees and non-network claims received telemedicine services.
Telemedicine services by network. Pre-pandemic: 50% network, 50% non-network. Pandemic: 31% network, 69% non-network.
Office visits were the most frequently used telemedicine service before and during the pandemic.
Telemedicine services by service type, pre-pandemic, and pandemic. Evaluation and management - 3% pre, 69% pandemic. Medicine-other – 18% pre, 23% pandemic. Medicine-physical medicine and rehabilitation services – 3% pre, 6% pandemic. Other – 6% pre, 2% pandemic.
The average number of days to initial telemedicine service was about six to seven weeks after injury in April to September 2020 and then decreased to about three weeks in 2021.
Average number of days to first telemedicine service, January 2020 (123) through February 2021 (24).

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Last updated: 10/12/2021