The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the world as we know it to say the least. APTA Vermont understands that the physical therapy profession and health care system as a whole is undergoing rapid changes in order to meet the needs of our patients and to do what is safest for all. We would like to thank all of our members for their hard work and dedication to the physical therapy profession and patients during this difficult time. Below is a list of resources compiled to help keep you informed and aid decision making in this rapidly changing environment. If you have additional questions, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Vermont Department of Health has issued new guidance for the re-opening of healthcare. These documents are applicable to all healthcare practices, includin gprivate offices or clinics, with the exception of dental practices. Any questions about these should be directed to the Vermont Department of Health.
> Outpatient Services, 5/22/20
> Inpatient Services & Procedures, 5/22/20
- For official guidance and best practice from APTA National, the CDC and CMS CLICK HERE
- For information on Vermont Emergency Enconomic Recovery Grants visit Agency of Commerce and Community Development.
- For information about the Frontline Employees Hazard Pay Program visit Department of Vermont Health Access.
- Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania are looking for volunteers to fill out a 15 minute survey regarding implications of COVID-19 on rehabilitation care, opportunities for telemedicine/telehealth, and thoughts towards robotics. A $20 Amazon gift card will be awarded randomly to one in every 20 participants. If you are interested in participating CLICK HERE.
- For general information regarding physical therapy and telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic CLICK HERE
- Due to the cancellation of many in person educational events, the Vermont Office of Professional Regulation is offering an extension to licensure renewal. Visit Dept of Professional Regulation to learn more about how to apply for an extension.
- State specific data is now available as a resuilt of an impact study completed by the APTA. The Vermont State Report report provides data from survey respondents who indicated that they were employed in Vermont. The first page shows the number of respondents per facility type in Vermont. Keep in mind that some of these numbers may be small, and you need to exercise caution when making decisions based on a relatively small number of respondents. Also, not all respondents were asked and/or answered all questions, so the total number of responses to a particular question may be less than the total number of respondents. The charts in this report correspond to the charts found in the national-level report. This will allow you to compare conditions in Vermont with those of the nation overall. (NOTE: only APTA members have access to the national report)If you have questions about the data, please contact Sarah Miller, Senior Specialist, at email@example.com.
TELEHEALTH in VERMONT
- When one considers telehealth practice, three major points must be considered:
- Does the state practice act allow it?
- Is it ethical?
- Will I get reimbursed for it?
- Please see the following links below for further information regarding these three points.
1. Vermont’s State Practice Act does not specifically permit or prohibit telehealth. Given this, it is considered to be allowed.
2. The APTA Ethics Guidelines state that “Ethical practice in telehealth must account for the biological, social, psychological, and cultural needs of the patient while working to improve their health. Additionally, knowing when to urge and how to persuade the patient to seek a face-to-face level of care is key. Before providing telehealth, ensure that you meet all local, state, and federal laws and regulations. To achieve the potential for patient benefit, you must consider the associated ethical issues; specifically, carefully assess the effect on relations between clinicians, patients and clients, and their families and/or caregivers.”
3. Regarding reimbursement, insurers are rapidly making changes to regulations in order to meet the needs of patients in light of COVID-19. In general, all of the following insurers are covering telehealth PT visits EXCEPT Medicare. However, there are may be changes with regards to billing codes and specific guidelines that must be followed. In order to ensure reimbursement, it is recommended to confirm policies with specific insurance companies. See links below to policies for common VT insurers.
> Issues with new CMS updates and why it doesn’t help PT’s, CLICK HERE, 3/31/20
> Physical therapists are not currently defined as authorized providers of telehealth. Read more in APTA’s position paper, Connect for Health Act.
> BCBSVT COVID Information for Providers, 8/2020
United Health Care:
- The CARES Act, signed into law on March 27th, provides “funding to small business owners and to employees as ways to support them and the economy during this public health crisis.”
- The Private Practice Section of APTA also offers additional resources for it’s members. (note: membership is required to access information)
ACUTE CARE PT RECOMMENDATIONS
- Practice Guidelines Emerge for PT and COVID-19 in the Acute Hospital Setting, 3/26/20
- Physiotherapy Management for COVID-19 in the Acute Hospital Setting, 3/23/20
- FREE webinar: COVID-19: Clinical Best Practices in Physical Therapy Management, 3/28/20
- Post-Acute Care PT Recommendations, this is a series of videos that APTA Cardiopumonary Section has released as part of their Post-Acute COVID-19 Exercise and Rehabilitation (PACER) Project.