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Expand chart

Virtual behavioral health visits in the first half of 2020 were hundreds of times higher than the year before, according to a new analysis by Well Being Trust and Milliman.

The big picture: The number of total behavioral health visits — both in person and virtual — were generally within 20% of 2019 levels from January to August, even though in-person visits plunged.

  • The dramatic rise in behavioral telehealth helped people continue to receive care while staying at home, an option that people needing other forms of medical care often didn't have.

Between the lines: Numerous studies have raised the alarm about the pandemic's impact on American's mental health.

  • "It is not clear whether the use of behavioral health services has risen sufficiently to match increased needs created by the pandemic," the paper warns.

By the numbers: Before 2020, 1% or less of behavioral health professional visits were virtual.

  • Last year, as much as 75% of behavioral health visits among the commercially insured were virtual in May and June. Nearly half of Medicare beneficiaries' behavioral health visits were provided via telehealth in April through July.
  • But Medicaid beneficiaries saw lower adoption rates and continued to receive in-person care more than than people with commercial insurance or Medicare.
  • This highlights "potential challenges with access to telehealth visits or technology for this group," the authors write.

Go deeper

White House nominates Rick Spinrad as NOAA leader

In this NOAA GOES-East satellite handout image, Hurricane Dorian, a Cat. 4 storm, moves slowly past Grand Bahama Island on September 2, 2019. (Photo by NOAA via Getty Images)

The White House on Thursday evening nominated Rick Spinrad, an oceanographer at Oregon State University, to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Why it matters: Filling the NOAA slot would complete the Biden administration's leadership on the climate and environment team. The agency, located within the Commerce Department, houses the National Weather Service and conducts much of the nation's climate science research.

2 hours ago - World

Israeli officials will object to restoration of Iran deal in D.C. visit

Photo: Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed the delegation traveling to Washington, D.C. next week for strategic talks on Iran to stress their objection to a U.S. return to the 2015 nuclear deal and to refuse to discuss its contents, Israeli officials say.

Why it matters: That position is similar to the one Israel took in the year before the 2015 nuclear deal was announced, which led to a rift between the Israeli government and the Obama administration. History could now repeat itself.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases aren't budging — even after vaccinations doubled— Health care workers feel stress, burnout more than a year into the pandemic — Handful of "breakthrough" COVID cases occurred in nursing homes, CDC says.
  2. Vaccines: Johnson & Johnson's vaccine production problems look even bigger — All U.S. adults now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine.
  3. Political: Watchdog says agency infighting increased health and safety risks at start of pandemic.
  4. World: EU regulator: Benefits of J&J vaccine outweigh risk of rare blood clots.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.