Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

The association between rurality, dual Medicare/Medicaid eligibility and chronic conditions with telehealth utilization: An analysis of 2019-2020 national Medicare claims.

Bogulski CA, Pro G, Acharya M, Ali MM, Brown CC, Hayes CJ, Eswaran H. The association between rurality, dual Medicare/Medicaid eligibility and chronic conditions with telehealth utilization: An analysis of 2019-2020 national Medicare claims. Journal of telemedicine and telecare. 2024 Feb 5; 1357633X241226741.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


INTRODUCTION: Telehealth services have the potential to increase healthcare access among underserved populations, such as rural residents and racial/ethnic minority groups. The COVID-19 public health emergency led to unprecedented growth in telehealth utilization, but evidence suggests the growth has not been equitable across all patient populations. This study aimed to explore whether telehealth utilization and expansion changed equitably from 2019 to 2020 among sub-groups of Medicare beneficiaries. METHODS: We conducted an analysis of telehealth utilization among a 20% random sample of 2019-2020 Medicare beneficiaries on a national level. We fit multivariable logistic regression models and calculated average marginal effects (AME) to assess the association between demographic and clinical characteristics on telehealth utilization. RESULTS: We found telehealth utilization was less likely among non-Hispanic Black/African-American (2019: adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 0.77, AME = -0.15; 2020: aOR = 0.85, AME = -3.50) and Hispanic (2019: aOR = 0.79, AME = -0.13; 2020: aOR = 0.87, AME = -2.89) beneficiaries, relative to non-Hispanic White beneficiaries in both 2019 and 2020, with larger disparities in 2020. Rural beneficiaries were more likely to utilize telehealth than urban beneficiaries in 2019 (aOR = 2.62, AME = 0.84), but less likely in 2020 (aOR = 0.57, AME = -14.47). In both years, dually eligible Medicare/Medicaid beneficiaries were more likely than non-dually eligible beneficiaries to utilize telehealth (2019: aOR = 4.75, AME = 0.84; 2020: aOR = 1.34, AME = 2.25). However, the effects of dual eligibility and rurality changed in both models as the number of chronic conditions increased. DISCUSSION: We found evidence of increasing disparities in telehealth utilization among several Medicare beneficiary sub-groups in 2020 relative to 2019, including individuals of minority race/ethnicity, rural residents, and dually eligible beneficiaries, with disparities increasing among individuals with more chronic conditions. Although telehealth has the potential to address health inequities, our findings suggest that many of the patients in greatest need of healthcare are least likely to utilize telehealth services.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.