APTA Wisconsin past president Connie Kittleson put together a wonderful virtual awards ceremony presentation for our 2019 award winners. Please take some time to watch the ceremony as we recognize outstanding PTs, PTAs and students, working to move the professions and Association forward!
2019 APTA Wisconsin Virtual Awards Ceremony - https://youtu.be/J9J9fLB0lG8
In honor of APTA's Centennial APTA Wisconsin members Gwyneth Straker, PT, MS, and Michele Thorman, PT, DPT, have created a timeline presentation detailing the founding of the Wisconsin chapter all the way through 2020 and our response to the COVID-19 epidemic.
As a follow-up to APTA’s first COVID-19 impact study, we now have state-specific survey data available. The charts in the Wisconsin focused report correspond to the charts found in the national-level report, https://www.apta.org/apta-and-you/news-publications/2020/impact-of-covid-19-on-the-physical-therapy-profession.
There were 175 survey respondents for Wisconsin. While the number of respondents was lower, there were similiarities between Wisconsin and the national data. You can review the state specific numbers here
Physicians and Other Clinicians: CMS Flexibilities to Fight COVID-19
Great news for therapists and their Medicare patients!
Page 1 of the fact sheet (https://www.cms.gov/files/document/summary-covid-19-emergency-declaration-waivers.pdf) says:
Pursuant to authority granted under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) that broadens the waiver authority under section 1135 of the Social Security Act, the Secretary has authorized additional telehealth waivers. CMS is waiving the requirements of section 1834(m)(4)(E) of the Act and 42 CFR § 410.78 (b)(2) which specify the types of practitioners that may bill for their services when furnished as Medicare telehealth services from the distant site. The waiver of these requirements expands the types of health care professionals that can furnish distant site telehealth services to include all those that are eligible to bill Medicare for their professional services. This allows health care professionals who were previously ineligible to furnish and bill for Medicare telehealth services, including physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, and others, to receive payment for Medicare telehealth services.
On page 32 it says an effective date of March 1, 2020 and on page 31 it says that “Waivers under Section 1135 of the Social Security Act typically end no late rthan the termination of the emergency period, or 60 days from the date the waiver or modification is first published. The Secretary can extend the waiver by notice for additional periods of up to 60 days, up to the end of the emergency period.”
This means that PTs can do true telehealth billing a limited set of CPT codes: 97161- 97164, 97110, 97112, 97116, 97535, 97750, 97755, 97760, and 97761.
MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today issued Emergency Order #22 to position the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) to continue providing its critical services by giving it flexibility to adapt to the new environments and circumstances due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. It covers a range of service areas and constituents, including fire departments, construction services, physical therapists and certified public accountants—all of which have faced new challenges as a result of this public health emergency.
Administrative Rule Suspensions and Orders
Admin. Rule: Wis. Admin. Code § PT 5.01(2)(b)
Description of Rule: Supervision of physical therapist assistants.
Status: Suspended in part as follows: “Have
direct face-to-face contact with the physical therapist assistant at least every 14 calendar days , unless the board approves another type of contact.”
Admin. Rule: Wis. Admin. Code § PT 5.01(2)(h)
Description of Rule: Supervision of physical therapist assistants.
Status: Suspended in part as follows: “Provide
on-site assessment and reevaluation of each patient’s treatment at a minimum of one time per calendar month or every tenth treatment day, whichever is sooner, and adjust the treatment plan as appropriate.”
Emergency Order 16 FAQ and Telehealth Guidance
Dear Health Care Provider,
The Department of Safety and Professional Services (Department) has received numerous inquiries regarding Emergency Order 16 and also the status of telemedicine/telehealth practice as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
The emergency covers a wide range of issues across many health care professions. The order took action that will make it easier to quickly expand the health care workforce by readmitted those with expired licenses and by welcoming providers from other states. It will also enhance flexibility so providers can more effectively respond to areas of greatest need. Please read the order, linked above, and also reference this Frequently Asked Questions document for clarifications. Both address individuals who have expired licenses and wish to return to practice.
Also, the order addresses telemedicine specifically, but we have also received questions about telehealth practice for other providers. The practice of telehealth is generally allowed under existing Wisconsin law unless there is some profession-specific requirement or restriction. Credential holders must use their professional judgment to determine if telehealth is appropriate for the patient or client being treated, to abide by all other applicable rules of practice and professional conduct, and to be properly credentialed or authorized to practice in the state of Wisconsin. If someone can practice in Wisconsin via an Emergency Order, a compact, or a temporary or permanent license, that individual can practice telehealth in Wisconsin and provide services to Wisconsin residents to the same extent as similarly licensed Wisconsin practitioners.
The Wisconsin Medical Examining Board has the only telemedicine rule currently in effect in Wisconsin. This rule may be found at Wis. Admin. Code Med chapter 24. While this rule applies only to the Medical Examining Board, many of the concepts in this rule may be informative to credential holders in other professions. Here is a link to this rule. Note that portions of this rule were suspended when Governor Evers issued Emergency Order 16. Please review both Med chapter 24 as well as the statutory and rule provisions governing your profession when evaluating telemedicine/telehealth practice options during the COVID-10 public health emergency.
The Department is not able to answer legal questions regarding what the standard of care requires for any specific profession or any specific situation a credential holder may encounter. If practice-related questions arise, the Department encourages credential holders to consult with a supervisor, with their own private or institutional legal counsel, with their colleagues within the profession, or other sources familiar with their profession’s standards of practice. Profession-related statutes and rules can be found by clicking on a profession under the Rule/Statutes column here.
Also, there have been recent changes to Medicaid reimbursement of telehealth services. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services issued guidance on telehealth reimbursement changes and status during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The guidance is available here. The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance has also sent this letter regarding related insurance (malpractice) issues to insurers.
This information will be posted to our website. Please visit often, as we are updating it daily as decisions are made and new information is available.
Dawn B. Crim
Department of Safety and Professional Services