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APTA provides a statement, resources, and guidance; CMS allows limited digital services by PTs; the CDC says gatherings should be fewer than 50 people, and more.

APTA provides a statement, resources, and guidance; CMS allows limited digital services by PTs; the CDC says gatherings should be fewer than 50 people, and more.

Practice Guidance

March 17: APTA Statement on Patient Care and Practice Management During COVID-19 Outbreak
"Physical therapists have a responsibility to review CDC guidance, to understand who is at highest risk and how to best reduce exposures, and to use their professional judgment in the best interests of their patients and clients and local communities," writes the APTA Board of Directors.

March 17: APTA Offers Template Letter to Advocate to Payers on Telehealth
The association has developed a template letter for you to use in advocating to your payers — private, Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid (both fee for service and MCOs) — for coverage of telehealth furnished by PTs and PTAs to ensure that patients continue to have access to the rehabilitative care they need amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Instructions are included at the top of the letter.

March 16: APTA Shares Guidance on Telehealth for PTs, PTAs
The use of telehealth can help keep providers and patients safe, but the current regulatory and payer landscape can be confusing. We've created guidance and links to resources that can help you decide whether telehealth is appropriate — or even a possibility.

From CMS

March 17: CMS Moves to Allow Limited Digital Services by PTs
New regulatory waivers will allow PTs, OTs, and SLPs to engage in patient-initiated "e-visits" for the purposes of assessment and management services.

March 17: CMS Offers Coronavirus Partner Toolkit
CMS has created a portal that centralizes updated resources related to COVID-19, including topical areas aimed at clinicians, Medicare beneficiaries, health care settings, and more, along with information from the CDC.

March 16: National Health Emergency Triggers CMS Waivers for Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP
The "blanket waiver" system now in effect eases a wide range of requirements, but CMS still won't reimburse for telehealth by PTs.

From the CDC

March 15: CDC Recommends Ban on Gatherings of More Than 50 People
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its guidance on mass gatherings and community events.

In The Media

March 16: White House Issues Advisory to Avoid Gatherings of More Than 10 People
The guidelines also urge the elderly and individuals with serious underlying health conditions to stay home and avoid contact with other people.

March 16: As Coronavirus Spreads, So Do Malware and Phishing Scams
Beware emails and websites that offer information about the pandemic — an increasing number of seemingly helpful apps and emails are actually damaging ransomware or phishing attempts, including harmful hacks sponsored by nation states.

March 15: Gov't Testing for COVID-19 Will Prioritize Medical Professionals, Elderly
According to government officials, testing for individuals with COVID-19 symptoms will first focus on health care workers and older adults. According to an administration spokesman, testing sites could potentially screen anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000 per day.

March 13: Experts Identify Risk Factors for More Severe Outcomes
Patients with COVID-19 are at higher risk of developing acute respiratory dysfunction if they are of older age, have neutrophilia, and/or have organ and coagulation dysfunction.

March 13: Researchers Learn More About SARS-CoV-2 Transmission
Preliminary research findings indicate that the aerosolized virus could be found in the air up to three hours later. The virus was present for four hours on copper, two to three days on plastic and stainless steel, and up to 24 hours on cardboard. The article should not yet be used to guide clinical practice, as it has not yet been peer-reviewed.

Visit APTA's Coronavirus webpage for more information and updates.

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