Telehealth Resources



telehealth ADVOCACY, News & resources

Over 1000 members responded to the FPTA’s call to action, making your voice Known to CMS – asking that Medicare Authorize PT Telehealth. We’re proud to announce that the campaign was a success and your voices were heard - congratulations, mission accomplished! PT Telehealth Now Included Under Medicare

Telehealth Courses

July 17, 2020 -  View new APTA telehealth courses.

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Home Health: Use of Telecommunications Could be Here to Stay

July 2, 2020 - The CMS home health payment rule for 2021 adopts changes implemented during the pandemic.

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July 2, 2020 - A snapshot of the current trends in billing and coding for physical therapist services provided via telehealth, along with basic recommendations.

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Virtual Services Billing Guidance for Cigna Patients

June 8, 2020 - This Notice serves as an update to the previous Notice regarding telehealth services for Cigna customers. As previously communicated, the interim coverage guidelines were set to expire on May 31, 2020. Consistent with the federal guidelines for the public health emergency, and to help ensure providers can continue to provide safe care how and where patients want it, at this time Cigna is extending the interim coverage guidelines through July 31, 2020.

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Update from Florida Blue for June 2020

June 5 2020 - In response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, we support the work of providers, and the guidelines set forth by the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As information is changing, we’re continuing to make process updates for our Commercial, Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicare Advantage and Federal Employee Program® (FEP) lines of business... 

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COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS) Billing

May 28, 2020 - CMS has updated it coronavirus waivers FAQs to add a new section on outpatient therapy and telehealth. Review the updated document for new Q&As:

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New Details on Telehealth and Outpatient Department PTs, PTAs

May 28, 2020 - New Details Emerge on Delivery of Remote Services by Outpatient Department PTs and PTAs in Medicare. In early May, PT in Motion News reported about CMS guidance on a way for hospital outpatient department PTs and PTAs to provide remote care delivery to Medicare beneficiaries. More details have surfaced since the...

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First Major Insurer Adopts a Permanent Telehealth Benefit

May 22, 2020 - BCBS of Tennessee will now include telehealth services — including telehealth provided by PTs — among benefits in place even after the COVID-19 health emergency ends. An isolated change or a glimpse into the post-COVID health care environment? BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee announced that is making coverage of in-network telehealth service a permanent...

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APTA Advisory: Humana Adopts Telehealth for PTs, OTs, SLPs

May 22, 2020 - PTs can now bill the insurer for common therapy codes, delivered via telehealth, for the duration of the public health emergency. Another major commercial payer has acknowledged the value of telehealth provided by PTs: this time, it's insurance giant Humana, which is now reimbursing PTs for services delivered via real-time video-based telehealth.....

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The Evidence Base for Telehealth: Reassurance in the Face of Rapid Expansion During the COVID-19 Pandemic

May 15, 2020 - In a very short time, healthcare in the United States and in many other countries has been transformed out of necessity to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Herculean efforts have
supported transformations ranging from converting hospital spaces....

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Telehealth Video: Medicare Coverage and Payment of Virtual Services

May 11, 2020 - CMS updated a video that answers common questions about the expanded Medicare telehealth services benefit during the COVID-19 public health emergency. New information includes how CMS adds services to the list of telehealth services, additional practitioners that can provide telehealth services, and the distant site services that Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) can provide....

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First Coast Service Options - COVID-19: Correctly Billing Telehealth

May 8, 2020 - CMS broadened access to Medicare telehealth services during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) so beneficiaries can get a wider range of services from their doctors and other clinicians without traveling to a health care facility. These guidelines are effective for dates of service (DOS) on and after March 1, 2020, until the end of the designated PHE....

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Did You Rapidly Adopt or Expand Telehealth for COVID-19? Here’s Our Post-Crisis Top 10 ‘To-Do’ List

May 7, 2020 - The COVID-19 public health emergency has sent many PTs and PTAs scrambling to adopt and deploy telehealth or other communications-based technology in their practices. This sudden pivot brought challenges and opportunities, prompting APTA to publish a Top 10 "To-Do" List for Providing Telehealth. As the situation continues to evolve, we now offer top 10 considerations for evaluating your telehealth program and planning for the future.

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The State of States: Four Ways to Stay Up-to-Speed on Telehealth, Licensure Provisions, and Other State-Level Changes

May 7, 2020 - It can't be stressed enough: Individual states are the decision-makers around much of what PTs and PTAs can and can't do in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These regularly updated resources can help you make fact-based practice decisions.

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PTA, OTA Home Health Maintenance Therapy Codes Released for Use Beginning in October

May 7, 2020 - CMS MACs now have the G-Codes to allow HHAs to record the change that began on January 1. But don’t use them yet....

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CMS Allows PTs in Private Practice to Provide Services Via Telehealth

May 4, 2020 - In a major shift strongly advocated by APTA members, CMS will now include PTs in private practice among the providers able to bill Medicare for services provided through real-time face-to-face technology. But there are requirements to meet...

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CMS Has Confirmed: PTs Now Included to Provider Telehealth Services Under Medicare

April 30, 2020 - CMS  Announced and It is confirmed, PTs are now included to provider telehealth services under Medicare – APTA will provide additional information in the next 24 hours including the following:
 
News story summarizing all the changes impacting PTs
Medicare telehealth billing guide
Updated telehealth webpage reflecting the new info
Pre-recorded webinar. Will be followed by live Q&A early next week

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Florida Medicaid Health Care Alert

April 27, 2020 - The Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) is committed to ensuring that Medicaid recipients continue to receive care when needed and without interruption. The purpose of this provider alert is to provide guidance to providers on how the Agency is expanding the type of Early Intervention Services (EIS)...

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State Actions Permitting PTs To Provide Telehealth

April 24, 2020 - This document includes existing state laws and regulations as well as emergency actions since the COVID-19 Crisis.

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Telehealth: Health Care From the Safety of Our Homes

April 22, 2020 - This excellent resource on telehealth was recently launched by the HRSA** During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, we don’t have to choose between medical care and social distancing. When patients can get health care through telehealth — and doctors can provide it — we protect ourselves and our communities...

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Win: CMS Backs off Changes That Got in the Way of Common Code Pairings

April 22, 2020 - Advocacy efforts by APTA and its members helped CMS and its coding contractor reverse earlier changes that complicated (and sometimes thwarted) a PT's ability to provide efficient, effective care..

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Center for Connected Health Policy

April 21, 2020 - The coronavirus has opened doors for telehealth like never before. In addition to APTA resources on reimbursement and delivery of PT services via telehealth, the Center for Connected Health Policy is tracking policy changes related to telehealth during COVID-19.

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COVID-19: Correctly billing telehealth and telephone-only services during the emergency

April 17, 2020 - During the COVID-19 public health emergency, CMS has expanded the Medicare telehealth services and are allowing previously non-covered telephone-only services to be billed. This article discusses the newly approved services and how to bill them to Medicare.   Modified: 4/17/2020 Location: FL, PR, USVI Line of Business: Part B

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Navigating Covid-19: Telehealth, Loans, and Regulatory Updates

April 17, 2020 - Check out the slides from this weeks webinar from WebPT. This document will provide the latest updates on telehealth regulations and billing best practices, economic relief options, and other developments relevant to rehab therapists and their clinics during this challenging time. You can find more useful information here: https://webpt.com/blog/

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Telehealth Resources under Florida Medicaid

April 14, 2020 - This document provides responses to questions that the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration are frequently receiving from Medicaid providers and other stakeholders about delivery of services during the COVID-19 state of emergency...

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Commercial Insurers Take the Telehealth Lead

April 9, 2020 - Over the past weeks, insurance giants Cigna, Aetna, and UnitedHealthcare have each announced temporary benefit changes allowing PTs to bill for most therapy codes delivered by way of telehealth. Unlike CMS, which is permitting coverage of some services furnished remotely by PTs — including e-visits, virtual check-ins, remote evaluation of recorded video or images, and telephone assessment and management services — the commercial benefit changes represent a key upgrade....

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Florida Blue Adopts Policy Approving PT/OT/SPT for Telehealth Visits

April 8, 2020 - In response to the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Florida Blue supports the work of providers, and the guidelines set forth by the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Additional resources are available to physicians and providers at:https://www.floridablue.com/providers/covid-19-information

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PT Telehealth in Florida - Update from APTA

April 7, 2020 - The APTA, along with AOTA and ASHA, met with CMS staff yesterday about our request that CMS use its new authority to add therapists as telehealth providers under Medicare during the public health emergency. We’re continuing to dialogue with the agency regarding this request...

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PTA's Can Practice Telehealth in Florida

April 6, 2020 - FPTA conferred with its legal and governmental affairs advisors and it is appropriate for a PTA to conduct telehealth services. They are legally authorized to do so since all of Florida Statutes 456.47 (Telehealth)  includes the providers regulated under the PT statute 486. However, the supervision requirements for a PT supervising a PTA would have to be adhered to. Additionally, FPTA strongly recommends that all PTs and PTAs confirm with the health plan/payer to make sure the plan will cover the treatment and that reimbursement is approved. Below are the links to the appropriate Florida Statutory sites governing the practice of Physical Therapy.

Chapter 486: Physical Therapy

Chapter 456: Health Professions and Occupations: General Provisions

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Florida Medicaid Coverage of PT/OT/SPT Therapy

April 6, 2020 - Florida Medicaid has expanded telemedicine/telehealth services in the fee-for-service delivery system for physicians, APRNs, physician assistants, as well as for physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.  This includes evaluation, diagnostic, and treatment services as long as the services can be delivered in a manner that is consistent with the standard of care... 

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Aetna Now Covers Telehealth Delivered by PT's

April 3, 2020 - Private insurer Aetna announced that it will now cover a range of services delivered by PTs through telehealth—a significant expansion of its earlier COVID-19-related policy that limited coverage to e-visits. The change comes after APTA engaged in collaborative work with the company to rethink its temporary benefits policy...

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Thinking About Providing Telehealth? Here's Our Top 10 'To-Do' List

April 3, 2020 - The COVID-19 pandemic has caused patients and providers, as well as state and federal governments, to consider the use of telehealth on a wider scale, including in physical therapy. It's a complicated topic that deserves your time — not just because of the immediate need for change...

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General Guidance for Telehealth

Before You Begin Practicing Via Telehealth

The use of telehealth is one approach that can help protect the patient and provider during this time of crisis. Investigate and consider the issues within the following areas as you make decisions on whether or not to use telehealth in your practice. In addition, become familiar with some of the commonly used terms in telehealth.

Telehealth: Billing and Coding Considerations Medicare

Billing physical therapy services that have been provided through telehealth  is an emerging challenge. Due to the 1135 waiver authority and Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is expanding access to Medicare telehealth/e-visit services so that beneficiaries can receive a wider range of services from their providers without having to travel to a healthcare facility. For the first time, PTs will be allowed to bill Medicare for telehealth/e-visits under codes associated with online assessment and management services (HCPCS codes G2061: Qualified non-physician healthcare professional online assessment, for an established patient, for up to seven days, cumulative time during the 7 days; 5–10 minutes; G2062: Qualified non-physician healthcare professional online assessment, for an established patient, for up to seven days, cumulative time during the 7 days; 11-20 minutes; G2063: Qualified non-physician healthcare professional online assessment, for an established patient, for up to seven days, cumulative time during the 7 days; 21 or more minutes). Providers must use place-of-service code “02” and “GT” modifier. The payment rates are significantly lower than the traditional payment for an in-person visit under the CPT 97000 code series. To determine the reimbursement rates for G2061-G2063, visit the  CMS Physician Fee Schedule lookup tool . Medicare coinsurance and deductible apply to the services.

To qualify as an e-visit, three basic qualifications must be met: 

  1. The billing practice must have an established relationship with the patient, meaning the provider must have an existing provider-patient relationship;
  2. The patient must initiate the inquiry for an e-visit and verbally consent to check-in services; 
  3. The communications must be limited to a seven-day period through an "online patient portal." 

Although the patient must initiate the service, CMS allows "practitioners to educate beneficiaries on the availability of the telehealth service prior to patient initiation." For example, if a patient cancels treatment because they can’t come to the clinic or are concerned about leaving home, then the PT may advise the patient that she or he can “virtually” contact the therapists as needed.

Florida Medicaid: CMS Approves First State Request for 1135 Medicaid Waiver in Florida

Florida Medicaid Telemedicine Guidance for Medical & Behavioral Health

Third-Party Payers

Payment for telehealth depends on your contract with your payer. There is no list of third-party payers that pay for telerehab. Also confirm with each payer whether the originating site can be a private home or office, if services must be real-time or can be asynchronous, and any other limitations to your use of telehealth. 

For third-party billing, there are "telehealth" CPT codes. But before reporting CPT codes you traditionally use for clinical visits or billing for telephone services (98966-98969), check with your payer. Many of the physical medicine and rehabilitation codes (97000 series) specify "direct 1-on-1 patient contact," which by strict definition would exclude telehealth unless you and your payer have agreed to include these services. A payer also may require an addendum attached to the bill that identifies the service as being provided via telehealth, along with an explanation of the charges, so be prepared to outline the reasoning for using telehealth.

You also should check with your payer about using place-of-service code "02" when billing for telehealth services to specify the entity where service(s) were rendered. Regardless of the payer or policy, if you provide and bill for services using telehealth, make sure that you are practicing legally and ethically, and are adhering to state and federal practice guidelines and payer contract agreements. 

Two commercial telehealth platforms are eVisit  and VisuWell .  If you use them, it's a good idea to check their information against the primary sources of state law.

Physical Therapists should consult the CMS recommendations for additional guidance.

APTA is also a fantastic resource for regularly updated information, especially at the national level. Please bookmark and access regularly APTA’s  Coronavirus  page.

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AMA Quick Guide to Telemedicine in Practice

March 26, 2020 - In an effort to keep our health care workers and patients safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Medical Association (AMA) has designed this quick guide to support physicians and practices in expediting the implementation of telemedicine, so care can continue to be provided to those who need it most.

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Download Telehealth Consent Form

This form was developed for FPTA by our legal counsel and can be used for the purposes of practing Telehealth. Click below to download the PDF.

consent form

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PT News: Furnishing & Billing E-Visits

Recent waivers by CMS that allow for limited digital communication with patients have triggered a wave of questions. Here are our answers to the ones we hear most often.

pt news article

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United Health Care adopted a PT Telehealth Policy

United Healthcare will reimburse physical, occupational and speech therapy telehealth services provided by qualified health care professionals when rendered using interactive audio/video technology.

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Additional Resources from Telehealth.com

TelehelathPT.com has answered the call over the last week by giving away thousands of hours of free content to providers struggling to find a Telehealth solution with the sudden impact of Covid-19.

#1 - We hare happy to provide you with the most up to date information about insurance reimbursement with a podcast we just completed last night with Rick Gawenda, PT of https://gawendaseminars.com/

Over 1 hour of expertise on Telehealth billing and Rick held absolutely nothing back! Watch this now or bookmark this for when you get home!
https://youtu.be/Gc1Or2aZtbY

#2 - We have a collaborative effort for those who have asked what they should do to make it through these times when it comes to their business and how can they be sure they're doing the right thing when it comes to Telehealth, HIPAA, patient privacy, wellness vs. PT, consent forms, etc?!

We reached out and crafted a document package and live Q&A video webinar featuring a rare gem of an attorney/PT - Gwen Simons, Esq, PT, OCS, FAAOMPT. Since 2007, she has become trusted legal counsel for 40+ physical therapy practices in Maine and 300+ entrepreneurial practitioners nationwide who have started Telehealth, consulting and cash practices. We are bringing her in to provide concrete answers along with a rare presentation followed by a Q&A session which you can join this Friday, March 27th at 1:00pm-2:30pm EST.

We will have a limited amount of space for this webinar, and we are releasing it 36 hours prior in order to limit the number of practitioners and clinic owners taking part of the Q&A. Grab your seat here: Telehealth Legal and Business Planning during Covid-19: Steps to Bridge the Gap for Your Private Practice

This will also include a live Q&A with Rob Vining, MSPT for the first time since the outbreak. Hear up to date best practices and actionable details to ensure your patients thrive as you provide your expertise digitally.

The package has boiled down the most important videos taken from TelehealthPT.com's library of how-to's and walkthroughs.

This package will be kept up to date with any updated/recent legal requirements and Telehealth best practices so that you will continue to benefit from future need-to-know information.

With the above two objectives covered, we truly believe that using the "Everything You Need" package, we want PTs/PTAs/Physios and the entire profession to thrive after this is all said and done.  Take advantage of this webinar now and set yourself up for future success.

Sign up today for Friday's Q&A with attorney Gwen Simons at https://www.telehealthpt.com/legalbusiness and see everything that will be included.

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