FY 2022 Annual Performance Plan and Report - Goal 1 Objective 3

Fiscal Year 2022
Released June, 2021

Topics on this page: Goal 1. Objective 3 | Objective 1.3 Table of Related Performance Measures

Goal 1. Objective 3: Improve Americans' access to health care and expand choices of care and service options

Accessing health services involves gaining entry into the health care system, usually through payment; gaining access to diverse options for receiving treatment, services, and products, including physical locations and online options; and having a trusted relationship with a health care provider.  Efforts to improve access to care are not limited to physical health care.  Improving access to behavioral and oral health care, including through innovative solutions that use health information technology, also is critical, especially for populations experiencing disparities in access.  HHS has removed regulatory barriers, created incentives for increased access to newly developed drugs and devices, expanded patient access and choice through Health Reimbursement Arrangements, and launched the Rural Health Strategy to improve access to care in Medicare and Medicaid.  To improve outcomes in this objective, HHS continues to address the high cost of care, lack of availability of services, and lack of culturally competent care.

In the previous administration, the Office of the Secretary led this objective.  The following divisions are responsible for implementing programs under this strategic objective: ACL, CMS, HRSA, IHS, OCR, OGA, and SAMHSA.  HHS has determined that performance toward this objective is progressing.  The narrative below provides a brief summary of progress made and achievements or challenges, as well as plans to improve or maintain performance.

Objective 1.3 Table of Related Performance Measures

Increase tele-behavioral health encounters nationally among American Indians and Alaska Natives (Lead Agency - IHS; Measure ID - MH-1)

Measure FY 2015 FY 2016 FY 2017 FY 2018 FY 2019 FY 2020 FY 2021 FY 2022
Target 8,600 8,901 10,359 11,600 13,600 21,860 46,000 48,000
Result 9,773 10,388 12,212 13,204 17,933 60,696 12/31/21 12/31/22
Status Target Exceeded Target Exceeded Target Exceeded Target Exceeded Target Exceeded Target Exceeded Pending Pending

Telehealth services have proven effective in providing access to care where there are provider shortages or other barriers to care.  The integration of behavioral health services through a telehealth option will increase tele-behavioral health encounters nationally among American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN).  Expanding tele-behavioral health service delivery will increase access to specialty care such as child psychiatry and addiction psychiatry.  Historical results show the increasing demand for these services as the measure consistently exceeded targets.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and flexibilities offered through the emergency act waivers, IHS increased efforts to expand access to telehealth by immediately offering technical assistance support to behavioral health clinics as they transitioned from office-based visits to tele-behavioral health visits.  With the expansion of telehealth services during the COVID-19 response, IHS accelerated efforts to increase the number of tele-behavioral health visits and accurately capture visits.  The FY 2020 result of 60,696 encounters reflects these efforts and the extraordinary circumstances and response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  In FY 2022, the 48,000 tele-behavioral health encounters target is based on an anticipated encounter increase as facilities continue to modify operations to support tele-behavioral health visits in addition to office-based visits.  In FY 2021 and FY 2022, IHS will continue to expand access to care for tele-behavioral health services.

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