Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth wasn’t a common means of treatment delivery for rehab therapists. After all, rehab therapy is largely hands-on—and telehealth was largely absent from rehab therapy state practice acts, Medicare coverage guidelines, and commercial payer policies.
For those who have no experience with hearing and speech deficits, it’s hard to grasp just how lonely life can be for those who do. Add to that the self-quarantine and social distancing measures implemented in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, and it’s a recipe for an incredibly isolating experience.
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“New normal.” It’s a phrase we’re hearing more and more as the US begins to open up and resume operations—at least partially. This tentative move toward some sense of normalcy means many of us will face significant change in the weeks ahead.
COVID-19 has created the perfect witch’s brew of intense stress. People across the country are concerned about the health of themselves and their families; job security is shaky (and household incomes are dropping); and basic necessities like food staples and hygiene supplies are still—even after two months—difficult to find.
It feels like the entire country has been in a state of hibernation for the past two months. As new instances of the novel coronavirus begin to decrease and an end to stay-at-home orders appears within our sight, people are itching to emerge from their caves and embrace the warmer weather.
Some states—such as Louisiana and Ohio—had already authorized telehealth as a mode of service delivery for physical therapists. A few state Medicaid programs, such as Minnesota, reimbursed for OT and SLP telehealth services. Of course, Medicare did not authorize rehabilitation providers to deliver services virtually
Last week, CMS announced that PTs—along with OTs and SLPs—are eligible to provide telehealth services to Medicare beneficiaries for the duration of this emergency, which is huge. Rehab therapists have been advocating hard for this move since well before the pandemic struck, and now that this change is on the books,
Adding new cash-pay services to your clinic’s repertoire can be a challenge. Not only do you have to ensure that you have the legal freedom to provide cash-based services (because you might not), but you also have to price and market them in a way that ensures patients will not only pay for those services out of pocket, but also receive value commensurate to the cost.
This is the third blog post in my series on working on your business, when you can’t work in your business. My intention is to help providers improve sustainability and efficiency within their practices, so they can come out of this pandemic with a renewed spirit and the ability to provide maximum benefits to patients.
To say that 2020 has been a year marked by change would be an understatement. In a matter of weeks, cities have all but shut down, companies have shifted their entire workforce to a remote environment, and the government has enacted multiple rounds of emergency legislation. In the rehab therapy world,