The coronavirus pandemic was a catalyst for a new wave of regulatory changes that expanded the rehab therapist toolbox almost overnight. Most recently, CMS made telehealth more widely accessible to rehab therapy providers. (Hallelujah!) While the industry has been fighting for this privilege for years, the swift change cast many providers into the uncharted waters of remote care with very little time to prepare.
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.
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.
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,
Nestled in an unassuming business park in Goodyear, Arizona, this Empower Physical Therapy clinic location is quieter than you might expect—but it feels welcoming. One of the front desk workers waves hello, her smiling eyes crinkling each time someone walks through the tall glass entry doors.
In the not-too-distant past, telehealth was unexplored and unfamiliar territory for rehab therapists—long-time advocates of the in-person visit. Yet practically overnight, therapists were forced to dive head-first into the telehealth pool and start providing care via hybrid or fully remote treatment models. And now that many major payers are covering therapy services delivered via telehealth, c
Plenty of physical therapists have fantasized about working from home—especially after an especially hectic day with back-to-back patients. But, now that the coronavirus has rendered many in-person physical therapy models inappropriate (at least for now), quite a few PTs are taking the idea of remote work much more seriously.
The coronavirus pandemic has thrown rehab therapy practices everywhere one curveball after another. In a matter of weeks—days, even—practice leaders have been forced to come up with gametime strategies for everything from treating patients at a safe distance to staying in business amid state-wide shutdowns.
In a way, telehealth is like the wild, wild west for rehab therapists. It’s totally new, relatively unexplored, and chock full of opportunity for patients and providers alike. That said, just because therapists are beginning to venture into the unknown, it doesn’t mean patients are ready to follow along.
On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the CARES Act into law. This massive, 800-plus-page bill included a debt-relief package for small businesses—and many PT, OT, and SLP private practices jumped at the chance to obtain a grant or loan that would help them weather the COVID-19 storm.