COVID-19 Information

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 vtapta@gmail.com.

 

GENERAL INFORMATION

  • For official guidance and best practice from APTA National, the CDC and CMS CLICK HERE
  • The Vermont Emergency Economic Recovery Grant Program has now closed for new applications.  Visit the State of Vermont website for more information or to check on the status of a current application.
  • Frontline Employee Hazard Pay Program applications portals have now closed.  For more information visit the State of Vermont website.
  • 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.

 

COVID-19 and..

Licensure
Research
  • 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 research-dept@apta.org.

Vaccination
  • Vaccination has begun in the State of Vermont.  For more information go to the Vermont Dept of Health website.
 
Mental Health
  • Covid-19 has impacted the lives of many in 2020. Unfortunately, that also inclues the increase of those struggling with substance abuse and mental health by a staggering 40 percent according to the CDC.  Visit the Ark Behavioral Health page for more information.

  

TELEHEALTH in VERMONT

  • When one considers telehealth practice, three major points must be considered:
    1. Does the state practice act allow it?
    2. Is it ethical?
    3. 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.

Please also view more information with APTA's Guide to Implementing Telehealth into Your Practice.

Medicare:  

>  Physical therapists are not currently defined as authorized providers of telehealth despite updates in March 2020.  If and when this will change remains in question.  CLICK HERE for more information from APTA on the his matter. 

Vermont Medicaid:

>  Department of Vermont Health Access

MVP:

COVID-19 Updates for Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists and Speech Therapists, 3/20/20

BCBS:

> BCBSVT COVID Information for Providers, 8/2020

A Physical Therapy Quick Reference Guide to Telemedicine

Cigna/ASH:

> Cigna's Response to COVID-19

United Health Care:

COVID-19 Telehealth Services

 

PRIVATE PRACTICE 

  • 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

  • Post-Acute Care PT Recommendations, this is a series of videos that APTA Cardiopulmonary Section has released as part of their Post-Acute COVID-19 Exercise and Rehabilitation (PACER) Project.
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