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Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg ; : 1945998221096593, 2022 May 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1820024


Telemedicine utilization among otolaryngologists was rare prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. We sought to understand rates of telemedicine utilization by otolaryngologists amid unprecedented changes in care delivery during the pandemic. Using Medicare Physician/Supplier Procedure Summary data, we performed a retrospective cross-sectional analysis of telemedicine services provided to Medicare beneficiaries by otolaryngologists in 2020. The total number of services and amount of reimbursement received by otolaryngologists for telemedical care increased by 52,989% and 73,147% in 2020 relative to 2019: 139,094 vs 262 services and $9.9 million vs $13,536, respectively. The mean telemedicine revenue per otolaryngologist offset only 8.8% ($9304.69) of losses from the reduction in mean in-person revenue between 2019 and 2020. Further research will be necessary to inform successful adoption of telemedicine within our field amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg ; 146(9): 816-821, 2020 Sep 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-671108


IMPORTANCE: Clinicians are increasingly adopting telemedicine in an effort to expand patient access and efficiently deliver care. However, the extent to which otolaryngologists provide telemedicine services is unclear. OBJECTIVE: To characterize recent trends in the use of telemedicine by otolaryngologists to deliver care to Medicare beneficiaries. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A retrospective cross-sectional analysis was conducted between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2018, using publicly available Medicare Physician/Supplier Procedure Summary data on physicians practicing in the field of otolaryngology and benchmark specialties (dermatology and psychiatry) that provided telemedicine services to Medicare beneficiaries. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Primary outcomes were the mean annual number of telemedicine services delivered per active physician and mean annual payment per active physician for these services. Secondary outcomes included the number, setting, and complexity of telemedicine services. RESULTS: Between 2010 and 2018, otolaryngologists provided 2127 total telemedicine services (7 unique service types) to Medicare beneficiaries and received $88 574 in total payment for these services. During this period, the mean number of telemedicine services increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.0%, and the mean Medicare payment per otolaryngologist increased at a CAGR of 21.8%. In comparison, telemedicine use during this period generally increased at a higher rate in the fields of dermatology (mean number of services per active physician at CAGR of 13.0%; mean Medicare payment per active physician at CAGR of 12.5%) and psychiatry (mean number of services per active physician at CAGR of 25.8%; mean Medicare payment per active physician at CAGR of 26.6%). In 2018, outpatient evaluation and management visits accounted for most telemedicine services provided (337 of 353 [95.5%]) and the payments received ($17 542.13 of $18 470.47 [95.0%]) by otolaryngologists. In contrast, physicians in other specialties also provided substantial portions of telemedicine services in the inpatient (psychiatry, 18 403 of 198 478 [9.3%]; dermatology, 231 of 1034 [22.3%]) and skilled nursing facility settings (psychiatry, 14 690 of 198 478 [7.4%]; dermatology, 46 of 1034 [4.4%]). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: This study suggests that the extent to which otolaryngologists used telemedicine to deliver care to Medicare beneficiaries between 2010 and 2018 was rare. Although there was relative growth in the use of telemedicine by otolaryngologists during this period, absolute growth remained low. Policy makers and provider organizations should support otolaryngologists in the adoption of telemedicine technologies, especially while coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) viral suppression efforts necessitate prolonged restriction of physical clinic throughput.

Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Medicare/statistics & numerical data , Otolaryngology/methods , Otorhinolaryngologic Diseases/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Telemedicine/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19 , Comorbidity , Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Otorhinolaryngologic Diseases/therapy , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , Practice Patterns, Physicians' , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology
Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg ; 164(3): 542-544, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-739174


The COVID-19 pandemic has placed unprecedented financial strain on otolaryngologists. Otolaryngologists employed by small practices may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of ongoing losses because these organizations often have limited financial reserves. We performed a retrospective cross-sectional analysis of federal direct aid provided to small practices (defined as ≤15 clinicians) employing otolaryngologists, using the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Physician Compare National Downloadable File and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Provider Relief Fund database. As of June 18, 2020, the HHS had allocated nearly $80 million to 966 (88.9%) of 1087 small practices employing 2455 otolaryngologists. The median amount of aid per clinician was $7909 (interquartile range, $4409-$12,710). These findings suggest that the majority of small practices have received direct aid through the HHS Provider Relief Fund, but aid amounts have thus far been modest relative to the fixed costs of practice.

COVID-19 , Financial Management , Otolaryngology/economics , Cross-Sectional Studies , Financial Management/legislation & jurisprudence , Humans , Legislation as Topic , Retrospective Studies , United States