As of this article’s publish date, rehab therapists still do not have permanent telehealth privileges—but you have another chance to change that! On March 23, 2021, a bipartisan group of legislators reintroduced the Expanded Telehealth Access Act (H.R. 2168) in the US House of Representatives. This bill expands the list of providers eligible to deliver telehealth services beyond the public health emergency, while also granting the Secretary of Health and Human Services the authority to add more healthcare providers to the list in the future.
If this bill passes, PTs, PTAs, OTs, OTAs, SLPs, and audiologists would all be able to provide—and receive payment for—Medicare-covered telehealth services on a permanent basis.
These services have been invaluable to patients during the past year—especially high-risk Medicare beneficiaries with long-term, disabling conditions. Furthermore, the delivery of physical therapy services via telehealth has been proven safe and effective. In fact, some non-Medicare payers have already given rehab therapists the permanent ability to provide telehealth. Remote services also help improve care accessibility to those who may not have reliable transportation or who live in health professional shortage areas (HPSAs).
APTA, AOTA, and ASHA have issued a rally cry to rehab therapists, asking them to band together and send letters to their state representatives in order to garner support for this critical piece of legislation—and we want to amplify that call.
So please, do your part to ensure vulnerable patients don’t lose access to remote rehab therapy services. Enter your email address below to download prewritten letter templates for PTs, OTs, SLPs, and audiologists—and then send them to your legislators.
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