Expanding Behavioral Healthcare Access in MA Through Telehealth: Sustaining Progress Post-Pandemic

Prepared for the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation

Massachusetts led the nation in rapidly deploying progressive new policies to temporarily expand access to telehealth across payers and providers during the COVID-19 pandemic—prompting exponential growth in the use of telehealth, including telebehavioral health—in just a few months.

Telebehavioral healthcare has the unique ability to improve access to behavioral health services by increasing connectivity between patients and providers of behavioral healthcare resources, decreasing wait times and eliminating logistical barriers. This is especially true for populations with particularly challenging access barriers, such as individuals who are low income or live in rural areas, children, the elderly, and individuals with substance use disorders (SUDs).

In “Expanding Access to Behavioral Healthcare in Massachusetts Through Telehealth: Sustaining Progress Post-Pandemic,” a new report prepared on behalf of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, Manatt Health explores the potential for expanding access to behavioral health services in Massachusetts through telebehavioral health. Specifically, the report proposes a framework for an optimal telebehavioral health system of care, highlights barriers to adoption experienced by providers and consumers, and identifies opportunities for promoting and expanding access to telebehavioral health across the Commonwealth, including sustaining the policy advances that have been made during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click here to access the full report.

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