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South Carolina Telehealth
PUBLIC HEALTH STATE OF EMERGENCY ORDER 2020-PT-PH-01 GUIDANCE REGARDING USE OF TELEHEALTH TO PROVIDE PHYSICAL THERAPY SERVICES DURING PUBLIC HEALTH STATE OF EMERGENCY
WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020, Governor Henry McMaster issued Executive Order No. 2020-08 declaring a public health emergency due to the evolving nature and scope of the public health threat or other risks posed by COVID-19 and the actual and anticipated impacts associated with the same;
WHEREAS, Governor McMaster has issued subsequent Executive Orders in which he has taken additional action to protect the citizens of South Carolina, including Executive Order No. 2020-10, which “authorize[d] and direct[ed] any agency within the undersigned’s Cabinet or any other department within the Executive Branch, as defined by section 1-30-10 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, as amended, through its respective director or secretary, to waive or ‘suspend provisions of existing regulations prescribing procedures for conduct of state business if strict compliance with the provisions thereof would in any way prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with the emergency,’ [. . .];”
WHEREAS, S.C. Code Ann. § 40-45-10 provides that the purpose of the State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners is to protect the public through regulation of professionals who identify, assess, and provide treatment for individuals with physical disabilities through the administration and enforcement of this chapter and any regulations promulgated under the chapter;
WHEREAS, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the need for social distancing, which could result in South Carolina patients not receiving necessary physical therapy services;
WHEREAS, the Board finds and concludes that many states expressly authorize physical therapists and physical therapist assistants to engage in the provision of physical therapy services via telehealth, and the provision of services via telehealth will assist both therapists and patients in social distancing, which will protect the public health, at large; and
WHEREAS, the Board concludes that it is in the best interests of the citizens of South Carolina to allow physical therapists and physical therapist assistants to provide physical therapy services via telehealth for the duration of this Order;
NOW, THEREFORE, for the reasons set forth above, effective immediately, the Board hereby offers the following guidance regarding the practice of physical therapy via telehealth:
1. Physical therapists and physical therapist assistants may provide physical therapy services via telehealth, so long as the following conditions are met:
2. This Order shall remain in effect for the duration of the declared public health state of emergency, unless otherwise modified, amended, or rescinded by subsequent order.
https://llr.sc.gov/pt/pdf/Physical%20Therapy%20Order%202020-PT-PH-01.pdfaccessed March 23, 2020
Important Information from the OT Board regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus)
The South Carolina Occupational Therapy Board wants you to know that the safety of the public and our licensees is our top priority. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the Board is providing you with the federal and state COVID-19 resources below. The Board would like to inform you that we do support continued service provision through any method of practice, including telepractice, within your scope of practice and that complies with the applicable standard of care. The Board continues to study telepractice and will discuss the issue at future meetings. In the meantime, if you elect to utilize telepractice, the Board suggests that you review the AOTA resources provided below and be mindful of these key points:
Telepractice. This provision of health care allows evaluation, assessment, intervention, etc. to occur without requiring both individuals to be physically located in the same place, regardless of whether that distance is across the street, across a city, state or continents.
Practitioner Qualifications. In addition to adhering to standard South Carolina licensing qualifications, occupational therapy practitioners using telepractice as a method of service delivery should maintain appropriate education and training; best practice; related competences for the patient populations served and practice settings. The practitioner must be licensed in the state in which the client receives those services.
Billing and Reimbursement. The Board of Occupational Therapy does not control billing issues, insurance issues or employment contracts. Each licensee should individually investigate the policies, which relate to their practice/learning environments from multiple perspectives such as reimbursement sources, employers, accreditation agencies and malpractice insurance providers to identify any additional requirements or concerns, which may be germane to practice and reimbursement.
Ethical Considerations. Occupational Therapy personnel should be mindful of their obligations under the Occupational Therapy Practice Act as set forth in S.C. Code Ann. §§ 40-36-5, et seq. and S.C. Code Ann. Regs. 94-2, et seq., including the Code of Ethics for Occupational Therapy Personnel set forth in S.C. Code Ann. Regs. 94-10. These resources are available on the Board’s website at: https://llr.sc.gov/ot/. In addition, the Board recommends that its licensees review the AOTA Code of Ethics (2015) (https://www.aota.org/ExternalLinks/AJOTlinks/Official/ethics/OT-code-of-ethics.aspx) and NBCOT Certificant Code of Conduct (2018) (https://www.nbcot.org/en/Regulators/Professional-Conduct) for additional ethical considerations for their practice.
accessed March 23, 2020