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Update for Members: March 21, 2020

Saturday, March 21, 2020   (0 Comments)
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Members,

This week, the Governor signed two Executive Orders that impact both our profession and association.

The Executive Order to Expand Telehealth Services requires all insurers to cover the costs of all telehealth services provided by in-network providers and, currently, insurers are putting forth information on how providers should be billing for such newly covered services. Please continue to verify benefits and confirm coding requirements for patients to ensure prompt payment for covered services. Updates related to payment are posted on our website's coronavirus page. The APTA is providing information on federally insured payors on their coronavirus page.

The Executive Order to Stay at Home, Social Distancing, and Essential Businesses and Operations is effective as of 5pm on Saturday, March 21 and does not require outpatient physical therapy clinics to cease operations.

We are fielding many inquiries from clinicians asking us to "make clinics close" and we don't have that authority, nor can we extend deadlines for completing CE for license renewal or change the state statute when it comes to clinical hours for new grads. What we can do is provide guidance on how our members can best manage the situations that we are all being confronted with.

When it comes to if all clinics should close their doors, we agree with a message Sharon Dunn, APTA President, put out to members that stated "the best approach is to rely on the professional judgment of physical therapists — because care decisions should be based on a specific person's needs and a risk/benefit analysis for the individual, not simply by the setting in which the care is provided. The COVID-19 outbreak changes the factors we must consider in our professional evaluation, but it does not change our basic responsibility to do what is best for our patients. As licensees, physical therapists are empowered and obligated to make those decisions."

The reality is that patients with acute injuries still need to be seen. Some of them may be health care workers or police, fire, or public works personnel that are working to provide essential services. If a clinic can see that patient instead of directing them to the ER, that will help ease the burden for hospitals. When it comes to your patients already in treatment, telehealth may be the answer to maintaining continuity of care without risk.

Physical therapists who are concerned about completion of CE in time for the September 30 license renewal deadline, be assured that the IPTA has you covered. Between upcoming #ThirdThursday and Spotlight on Research events and our virtual library, you can complete all 40 hours for free. Share the links with your non-member colleagues so that they can consider membership - or pay individually for the programs - and get all of their CE in plenty of time for license renewal.

For students who are concerned about meeting requirements for licensure and conflicts between CAPTE's new guidance and the IL PT Act and Rules, the IDFPR is aware and will be issuing guidance soon.

For Early Intervention providers who are unhappy with the recent directives from the EI Bureau Chief, so are we -- and we are advocating for quick adoption of processes to utilize telehealth so that children and families still have access to essential services.

All of the association's work on these and other matters will now be done remotely. Staff will be working from home as required by the Governor's Executive Order. During this time we ask that all communications be via email as the phone system will not be available. General communications can be sent to ipta@ipta.org and will be forwarded to the appropriate staff member or board member to respond.

We are also going to delay the Chapter, District and SIG elections timeline, as we recognize that, right now, life and work circumstances and decisions need to take priority. More information will be shared in the monthly Keeping You Connected e-news that will go out on April 7th.

 

Please...stay healthy, follow the CDC guidelines and state direction on providing care and sheltering at home, and check in with those who may be facing challenges.

We will all get through this together.

Mike Riley, PT, IPTA President



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