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    Telehealth Update for NH OT Practitioners

    March 20, 2020

    Dear Members, 

    Many of us are struggling with the challenges of the COVID-19 virus. We are trying to find ways to provide treatment and education to our clients and students. Recent developments with greater freedom for providing telehealth presents new opportunity and challenges for healthcare providers. NHOTA would like to provide you with resources that you can use to navigate telehealth to provide quality care that is ethical, appropriate and helpful.  

    Reminder: you can only perform telehealth services to people in the state(s) you are licensed in. 

    CMS has relaxed the coverage guidelines for telehealth coverage.  The following link is a tip sheet and includes billing codes therapists can use.  One caveat: there must be a face-to-face encounter with you prior to telehealth, so they must be an established patient. 

    Link: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/medicare-telemedicine-health-care-provider-fact-sheet

    Summary: 

    CMS has also made recommendations for privacy concerns when providing telehealth: https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/special-topics/emergency-preparedness/notification-enforcement-discretion-telehealth/index.html

    They recommend the following platforms from vendors that claim HIPAA compliance: 

    • Skype for business
    • Updox
    • VSee
    • Zoom for Healthcare
    • Doxy.me
    • Google G Suite Hangouts Meet

     

    Governor Sununu enacted an emergency order that initially limited telehealth to physician-type providers, but he expanded that coverage on March 18th to include providers licensed by the Office of Allied Health Professionals. That would expand coverage to OTs within the state of NH. Click here to download the document

    AOTA has provided an FAQ that is accessible to non-members: https://www.aota.org/coronavirus. However, members have more access and more ability to connect with other OTs for ideas and guidance in telehealth opportunities. 

    Now, more than ever, we need to meet this challenge and expand our practice and comfort zones.  When this crisis is over, the option for telehealth will once again be restricted to rural areas and physicians. We need to look forward and work on a legislative agenda in our state that will allow occupational therapy and allied health to have easy access to an effective method of delivering critical services and be able to bill for those quality services.

    Telehealth is evidence-based and an emerging field. Make sure NHOTA hears your voice on how you will use telehealth to expand your practice and reach.  When this crisis is over, help NHOTA push this legislatively and be a strong voice in NH demonstrating the value of occupational therapy.