During this unusual moment in time, we are collectively tasked with slowing the spread of COVID-19. This equates to physically distancing ourselves from others. But it doesn’t mean disconnecting from one another. One way we can connect at a distance, is through telehealth physical therapy.
The word telerehab can be used interchangeably with telehealth physical therapy. Find out what you can get out of a telerehab visit. But ultimately, read our step-by-step guide on how to access telehealth physical therapy with us during COVID-19.
What can I get out of telerehab?
Truth be told, the greatest value you can get from physical therapy involves hands-on care, in a one-to-one, in-person setting. So what value can you get from a video session?
For patients who’ve never been seen for an in-person evaluation, telerehab is more like a consult. First, we’ll have a conversation about your history and story. Next, we might have you show us some movements to help determine the problem. Finally, we’ll provide guidance about your condition, give you tips to change how you’re moving throughout your day, and assign a home exercise program.
For established patients, telerehab is a great way to stay on the path as you work toward your goals.
What we can provide:
- Exercises: answer questions about your home exercises, cue you or provide demonstration for correct technique, advance exercises and update your home program
- Activities of Daily Living: watch you perform activities around your home and offer corrective tips
- Posture and Positioning: assess how you sit, sleep, or stand at various places in your home
- Education: answer questions you have about your condition, equipment or anything else
What are the requirements?
Since we’re licensed physical therapists in the state of Idaho, you must be in Idaho for us to have a telerehab visit to you.
Is telerehab covered by insurance?
Most of the larger insurance carriers are covering telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Medicare isn’t covering true telehealth, but they are covering something called an E-visit.
Most of the insurance companies that are covering telehealth or E-visits are applying your normal deductible and co-pay or co-insurance to these sessions during COVID-19. Amazingly, at least one of the largest insurers, is even waiving the patient cost share. This means many of you can access these sessions for free during COVID-19!
In any case, if your insurance carrier doesn’t cover telehealth during COVID-19, we can offer you our cash rate.
How do I schedule?
There are two ways to schedule a telehealth visit with us:
- Call: 208-344-0737
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
What equipment do I need to access the session?
You need an internet connection, and a device with a video camera and microphone. That could be a smart phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. Although not required, it would be most helpful if your device could move around with you, so that you can position it to show us your exercises or areas in your home.
Don’t worry, we’ll e-mail you detailed instructions about the best browsers to use, as well as other technical hints and tips.
Which video platform will we use for telehealth physical therapy?
We use a HIPAA compliant telehealth platform. After you reach out to get scheduled, you’ll receive an Invitation email from thera-LINK asking you to create an account. It’s a very simple sign-up process, requiring only your name, email address and a password.
How will I know that I’m scheduled?
After you’ve accepted our invitation to join thera-LINK, we’ll put you on the therapist’s schedule. You’ll receive an Appointment Scheduled email from thera-LINK.
Since we also need to document the session and bill your insurance, you’ll also be on our regular clinic schedule. Because of this, you can also expect an email reminder from us 48 hours in advance.
How do I pay for the session?
We’ll get in touch with you and take payment over the phone. In the near future, we will be launching our patient portal. Once that’s live, you’ll be able to securely pay via the portal.
How long is the session?
Most sessions will be about 30 minutes. It’s best to make a list of the things you want to address during the session and share that list when you schedule. This helps us determine the optimal duration.
How do I join the session?
Simply login to your account with the device you plan to use, about 5 minutes before your scheduled time. Click the green Join Button.
Once in our virtual waiting room, if logging in from a laptop or desktop computer, click Allow to let thera-LINK use your microphone and camera. Then click Start Session.
Once you’ve started the session, make sure you can see yourself and hear yourself. If not, log out and log back in. Make sure you allowed thera-LINK access to your camera and microphone.
We’ll connect with you at your scheduled appointment time!
As essential healthcare providers, at the time of this blog post writing, we are still also open for in-person physical therapy. Our profession’s main contribution during the COVID-19 pandemic, is to keep patients who are in pain, out of doctor’s offices, urgent care centers and emergency rooms.
That being said, we are following strict hygiene practices to protect ourselves and our patients. Additionally, we are requiring each patient to complete our COVID-19 Exposure Risk Assessment prior to EACH appointment.
Due to lack of personal protective equipment, we’re not able to see patients in-person who have exposures to COVID-19, have travelled to areas with widespread community transmission, or those who’ve been in close contact with anyone with any symptoms for two weeks. Those patients may schedule a telehealth session instead.
Our telehealth sessions are also a good choice for the most vulnerable population which includes:
- People over the age of 60
- People with pre-existing medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, obesity, etc..
- Those who are immunocompromised
- Pregnant women