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

  • 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

 

TELEHEALTH and COVID-19:

  • For general information regarding physical therapy and telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic CLICK HERE

  • For guidance on questions to ask to insurers CLICK HERE

 

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.

Medicare:  

>  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.

Vermont Medicaid:

>  Department of Vermont Health Access

>  Memorandum to Vermont Medicaid Participating Providers, 3/18/20

MVP:

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

BCBS:

> General Link to Update Policies re: Telemedicine

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 Cardiopumonary Section has released as part of their Post-Acute COVID-19 Exercise and Rehabilitation (PACER) Project.
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