Telehealth is a moving target. And that's a good thing: APTA and other provider organizations see telehealth not as a static, stand-alone approach, but as part of a broad array of constantly evolving digital solutions that can be integrated with in-person care when appropriate.
In recognition of National Telehealth Awareness Week, here are a few opportunities to find out what APTA is doing — and what we have to offer — in the technology-enhanced space that includes telehealth.
We've Created a Telehealth Certificate Program (With a la Carte Options)
APTA's six-part telehealth certificate series is specifically designed to help PTs and PTAs understand the ins and outs of telehealth, accompanied by elective courses that take even deeper dives into clinical decision making and the application of telehealth in specific areas of practice. Successful participants will earn a certificate of completion and gain 1.2 CEUs (physical therapy students can take the course, too, but restrictions apply related to continuing education units).
Course content was developed by an APTA expert advisory panel that included early adopters of telehealth as well as APTA staff and members with expertise in the creation and dissemination of educational content. Participants will have six months to complete courses.
Interested in some but not all of the content? Courses can also be taken individually, including the presentations aimed at specific practice areas such as acute care, pelvic health, performance arts, cardiovascular and pulmonary, neurological, orthopedic, and pediatric physical therapy.
We're Working to Make Telehealth for PTs and PTAs Permanent Under Medicare
The Expanded Telehealth Access Act is an APTA-supported bipartisan bill, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 3875) and the U.S. Senate (S. 2880) that could achieve a long-term association goal: the inclusion of PTs and PTAs among the providers who can provide services via telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries.
Currently, PTs and PTAs are expected to be allowed to continue to provide telehealth through Dec. 31, 2024, as an extension of an exception created early on in the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation now under consideration would make that change permanent.
APTA members can make their voices heard by way of the APTA Legislative Action Center, an easy-to-use resource that delivers your message to Capitol Hill.
We're Providing Tools to Help Members Optimize Their Use of Digital Health — And Urging Transparency Among Digital Health Companies
Our award-winning efforts around digital health continue to grow — most recently through the launch of the APTA Digital Health Formulary, powered by ORCHA, an online resource that helps take the uncertainty out of finding the right app for the right clinic or patient need. It's a screening resource that offers up information on apps that have met high standards for safety, with a user interface that allows you to search based on a range of conditions, patient populations, and body areas. We even offer a training video to help you get familiar with all the formulary has to offer.
At the same time, we're looking outward and urging providers of digital health technologies to join APTA's Digital Health Transparency Campaign. The initiative is aimed at bringing together leaders in the profession and those in digital health care to voice a shared commitment to transparency. Fundamental to that commitment is agreement to a pledge that digital physical therapy must be "performed or directed only by licensed physical therapists in accordance with all regulations and APTA's Standards of Practice for Physical Therapy." To date, 25 companies have signed the pledge.
We're Helping PTs Navigate the Remote Therapeutic Monitoring Landscape
In January, it will be two years since PTs were included in the list of providers able to bill for several remote therapeutic monitoring, or RTM, codes under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. But that doesn't mean the issue is settled: As details continue to be worked out, APTA keeps members informed.
Central to those efforts is an APTA practice advisory on RTM. This resource includes background on the codes related to RTM treatment and treatment management services, descriptions of each, documentation requirements, and guidance on which codes are subject to payment adjustment under the PTA differential system now in place. The resource also features clinical examples to help you understand the real-world application of the codes.