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UnitedHealthcare allows e-visits, HHS presses states to ease regulations, HPA shares an interoperability opportunity, and more.

UnitedHealthcare allows e-visits, HHS presses states to ease regulations, HPA shares an interoperability opportunity, and more.

Practice Guidance

March 24: UnitedHealthcare Follows CMS Lead on "E-Visits"; Still Excludes "Telehealth" by PTs
Although developments are happening too rapidly for posting on its website, UnitedHealthcare has announced that it will follow the CMS 1135 waiver policy allowing for a particular type of digital communication between a PT and patient known as an "e-visit." E-visits are not considered telehealth, and UHC explicitly statedthat it will still exclude reimbursement for outpatient therapy services delivered under telehealth. APTA offers an extensive Q&A resource on e-visits, including details on coding and the required "patient portal."

E-visits through UHC will be paid as carve-outs, separate from the per-visit flat rate. Insurer fee schedules may take up to 60 days to complete fee schedule updates.

UnitedHealthcare is the second major insurer to adopt the CMS e-visit policy for PTs: earlier in March, Aetna made a similar move. See the second item in the March 19 APTA Coronavirus Update for details and links.

March 25: HPA Curates Resources on Interoperability, Telehealth Providers
HPA the Catalyst, APTA's component focused on health policy and administration, now offers information for providers on how to gain free access to on-demand patient record retrieval service across the continuum from Kno2, one of the interoperability providers for most of the EHR vendors in postacute care and outpatient settings. Also available: a matrix on audio and video telecommunicationsto help you evaluate telehealth vendors, created by the HPA Technology Special Interest Group and the Frontiers in Science, Rehabilitation, and Technology Council.

March 26, 2 pm: APTA Hosts Facebook Live Event on International PT Response to COVID-19
Join APTA and physical therapists from the UK and Canada for a live discussion of how the physical therapy profession is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic internationally. Participants will include Michel Landry, BScPT, PhD, a professor at Duke University and affiliate in the Duke Global Health Institute, who will provide an overview of disaster management and epidemiology, and share experiences from working in other disasters.

From Health and Human Services

March 25: HHS Tells States to Ease State Laws and Regs
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is calling on states to take "immediate actions" to relax laws and regulations that HHS thinks could get in the way of effective health care responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. The recommended actions include licensure exemptions and disciplinary moratoriums, waiver of telemedicine practice prohibitions, relaxation of scope-of-practice requirements, and easing of malpractice liability.

From the Department of Labor

March 24: Labor Department Provides More Information on Paid Sick Leave, FMLA Expansion
With requirements now in place for employers with 500 or fewer employees to provide paid sick leave and expanded FMLA benefits, the Department of Labor is rolling out guidance for both employers and employees. The latest resources — a fact sheet for employers, a fact sheet for employees, and a questions and answers document — shed light on a number of issues, including how to count hours for part-time employees, employee information on qualifying reasons for leave, and how small business can obtain exemptions from the mandates.

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

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