Publication date: Sep 22, 2023
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rhode Island implemented a telehealth waiver allowing telehealth parity. This study investigated (1) if telehealth allowed for patients who seek mental health services to maintain visit frequency and (2) if subpopulations were less likely to utilize telehealth. We used descriptive statistics to analyze the change in total number of visits, in-person visits from pre-waiver to post-waiver, and a multivariate linear regression to identify relationships between demographics and telehealth utilization. Participants were able to maintain the frequency of visits during the COVID-19 pandemic. Race/ethnicity, age, gender, employment status, and housing status were all statistically significant predictors of telehealth utilization. Telehealth aids in the continuing of care when in-person visits are not a viable option. Access to telehealth is crucial during public health emergencies and aids in maintaining visit frequency. Further research should be done to evaluate subgroups who are less likely to utilize telehealth.