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Alabama PT/OT Telehealth

September 7, 2020

Physical Therapy

ABPT COVID-19 STATEMENT TO PRACTITIONERS

The Alabama Board of Physical Therapy would like to take this opportunity to answer the many inquiries we have had in relation to telehealth and the unprecedented challenges in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. We would like to answer a few common questions we are getting:

Can physical therapy telehealth services be provided in the state of Alabama?

Yes. While our current practice act does not explicitly address telehealth, it also does not limit its use for therapy either. All ethical and scope of practice guidelines apply to telehealth practice the same as face to face practice.

Can physical therapy providers licensed in Alabama provide telehealth services to clients in other states without a license in that state?

No. The physical therapy provider must be licensed in the physical location of the client unless a state has a specific exemption specified.

Are telehealth services reimbursed by insurance?

The Board does not involve itself with issues of reimbursement. We encourage you to call your insurance providers and request that telehealth services be covered in the face of the COVID-19 public health crisis.

In 2015, the Federation of State Board of Physical Therapy issued a paper on the minimum best practices for telehealth (attached). The Board recommends this as a guidance for our Practitioners who are now being asked to provide telehealth to clients. Your company may require a higher standard, but these are intended to provide the minimum accepted standards as you go forward.

Are there restrictions for seeing our patients?

The Alabama Board of Physical Therapy is a professional licensing board and does not have the authority to mandate or recommend the closure of a practice setting; this authority lies with the Governor in coordination with State and County health officials.

The Alabama Board of Physical Therapy recommends all Practitioners follow the guidance provided by the CDC’s guidelines at: CDC.gov Coronavirus

In the weeks ahead as we navigate through the COVID-19 crisis, we encourage all Practitioners to rely upon your education and training while we all work through this situation.

Be strong, be smart, be safe,

Reference

http://pt.alabama.gov/

Occupational Therapy

The Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy would like to take this opportunity to answer the many inquiries we have had in relation to telehealth and the unprecedented challenges in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. We would like to answer a few common questions we are getting:

Can occupational therapy telehealth services be provided in the state of Alabama?

Yes. While our current practice act does not explicitly address telehealth, it also does not limit its use for therapy either. All ethical and scope of practice guidelines apply to telehealth practice the same as face to face practice.

Can occupational therapy providers licensed in Alabama provide telehealth services to clients in other states without a license in that state?

Under normal circumstances, the provider must be licensed in the physical location of the patient unless a state has a specific exemption specified. Contact the state of location of the patient to determine if licensure has been waived at this time.

Are telehealth services reimbursed by insurance?

The Board does not involve itself with issues of reimbursement. We encourage you to call your insurance providers and request that telehealth services be covered in the face of the COVID-19 public health crisis.

Are there restrictions for seeing our patients?

We recommend you follow the guidelines of the CDC   https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Additional Resource:

https://www.aota.org/Advocacy-Policy/Federal-Reg-Affairs/News/2020/OT-Pandemic.aspx

Will the board relax/adjust/modify the licensure requirements during this period (i.e. - reduction in number of fieldwork hours/requirements, allow immediate license reciprocity for individuals not dually licensed in Alabama, remove licensee supervision requirements)?

No.  This Board does not have the authority to change educational requirements set by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).  At this time, we are not considering any changes to our current regulations to continue our mission of safeguarding the public health, safety, and welfare for those in need of occupational therapy services. There will also be no change in renewal requirements or expiration of licenses.

Governor Ivey’s State of Emergency Declaration states all State Agencies are asked to minimize exposure to the public, and their employees.  During this time, this office will be closed.  Our staff will be providing minimum services via phone, and electronically.  Emails will be answered, and phone calls returned during the day.  There will be delays in issuing of licenses, and subsequent services provided by this office.  We may not have access to USPS mail, or deliveries made by Federal Express or UPS.  We will resume full service as soon as the Governor authorizes.

Reference

http://www.ot.alabama.gov/news_detail.aspx?ID=13773

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