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A possible blueprint for telehealth exercise programs, pediatric COVID-related illness, CDC guidance on reopening, and more.

From PTJ

May 5: "COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond: Considerations and Costs of Telehealth Exercise Programs for Older Adults With Functional Impairments Living at Home—Lessons Learned from a Pilot Case Study"
Authors of a recent open-access PTJ article published ahead of print developed what they hope is a “blueprint” for developing and implementing new telehealth exercise programs for older adults with functional impairments — or for transitioning traditional in-person visits to telehealth during a pandemic such as COVID-19. The case study findings include a list of steps taken, participant and provider considerations, resources used, and cost analyses.

May 8: "Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Is Telerehabilitation the Answer?"
In a PTJ Point of View published ahead of print, authors examine the clinical evidence on telerehabilitation for musculoskeletal conditions, discuss the evidence for telerehabilitation's feasibility and acceptability, and address potential benefits and challenges for physical therapists.

From PT in Motion News

May 11: FSBPT to Host May 18 Webinar on National Physical Therapy Exam
On Monday, May 18, the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy is hosting a free webinar for students and others, COVID-19 and the Impact on the Physical Therapy Community, to answer common questions about the national health emergency’s impact on the National Physical Therapy Examination.

May 11: TRICARE Allows Audio-Only Services, Waives Copays for Telehealth
As of May 12, TRICARE, the health insurance used throughout the military, temporarily allows for the use of audio-only remote services for office visits when audiovisual communication is not possible — with documentation for that clinical decision. The rule, which will remain in effect until the COVID-19 public health emergency ends, also eliminates copays and copayments for telehealth services and relaxes provisions around licensing requirements for providers.

In the Media

May 8: Worldwide Increase in Reports of COVID-19-related Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome
From MedPage Today [free account required]: "In the NYC health department report, the 15 cases in children ages 2 to 15 years were hospitalized with typical or incomplete Kawasaki disease, some with shock. All had fever and more than half had rash, abdominal pain, vomiting, or diarrhea. However, less than half have had respiratory symptoms."

May 8: Health Care Sector "Hemorrhages" 1.4 Million Jobs in April
From HealthLeaders: "With the COVID-19 pandemic steamrolling much of the nation during April, new federal data show the healthcare sector shed 1.4 million jobs for the month, as hospitals and outpatient care venues shuttered money-making elective services and slashed payrolls to stem the red ink."

May 13: As States Begin to Reopen, 19 States Are Seeing Rise in COVID-19 Infections
From Reuters: "Nationally, new cases of COVID-19, caused by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, are down 11% in the last week, according to the Reuters analysis. However, hot spots are emerging in some southern and western states, while the Northeast has seen new infections plunge."

May 14: CDC Issues Guidance on Reopening Schools, Workplaces
From NPR: "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a set of documents on Thursday designed to provide guidance on how child care centers, schools, restaurants and bars, and other establishments could begin the process of reopening in the face of the coronavirus. The direction comes after calls from lawmakers and state officials mounted for the CDC to weigh in on how regions should reopen their economies."

Evidence Reports

May 7: People of Color and Low-Income Patients in General Are at Higher Risk of Serious Illness if Infected With COVID-19
According to a new report from Kaiser Family Foundation, national and state-level data "suggest that serious illness resulting from coronavirus disproportionately affects people in communities of color, due to the underlying health and economic challenges that they face. Similarly, adults with low incomes are more likely to have higher rates of chronic conditions compared to adults with high incomes, which could increase their risk of serious illness if infected with coronavirus."

May 13: Infrared Temp Assessment Ineffective, Research Indicates
According to Clinical Evidence Assessment by ECRI, infrared temperature screening programs to detect people infected with coronavirus are ineffective. Simulation studies, authors write, "suggest such screening will miss more than half of infected individuals," because many infected individuals do not have fever at the time of screening and because screeners may be inconsistent in their technique.

From U.S. Department of Labor

May 9: U.S. CARES Act Authorizes Additional $600 Per Week for Individuals Receiving Unemployment Compensation
The U.S. Department of Labor published a series of responses to specific inquiries and questions raised by states regarding the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program. The CARES Act authorizes the FPUC program, and provides an additional $600 weekly payment boost to certain eligible individuals who are receiving other qualifying benefits.

May 14: OSHA Issues Safety Guidance for Nursing Home and Long-Term Care Facility Workers
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued an alert listing safety measures employers can follow to help protect nursing home and long-term care facility workers from exposure to the coronavirus. The agency also has issued more general workplace guidance for keeping employees safe from infection.

From the U.S. Department of the Treasury

May 13: Small Business Administration, Treasury Department Publish FAQ on Paycheck Protection Program
The Small Business Administration, in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, issued additional guidance to address borrower and lender questions concerning the implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program established by the CARES Act.

From the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

May: CMS Issues Toolkit to Help Nursing Homes Mitigate COVID-19 Prevalence
CMS released a compilation of actions employed by organizations, including state governments and outlying U.S. territories, to help nursing homes meet the needs of their residents since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. CMS notes that the document is not intended as guidance and does not replace or serve as a substitute for CMS requirements and policy. The agency has not evaluated the actions outlined in this document for effectiveness.

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

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