Telehealth physical therapy consists of a physical therapy session delivered over the phone or via videoconference. This is a brand new concept in the field of physical therapy. It was recently approved for the first time ever by the insurance companies to ensure continuity of care for clients during the COVID-19 pandemic, during which most outpatient physical therapy clinics have been closed to aid epidemiological management of this virus.
So what can we do during a telehealth session? Obviously manual therapy, ie hands-on techniques can’t happen. No freaky energetic healing over the phone or video over here either. Many clients seek physical therapy for the hands-on treatment—to get “fixed”—and initially are having some difficulty embracing telehealth PT, which requires a shift in focus.
This change in mindset is a big one, and one that long term may prove more valuable for the client than a traditional hands-on PT session. Instead of the client getting “fixed” by a PT, the PT guides the client to self-heal through many strategies, which could include but are not limited to the following: exercise program instruction/progression; guided instruction in self mobilization, myofascial release and craniosacral techniques; education on self taping; brain and neuromuscular training; instruction in use of modalities at home such as heat, ice, home TENS units, pain-relieving rubs, Epsom salts baths; arranging a drop off of orthopedic equipment or instructing the client in making a splint or sling; and other injury management and healing strategies. Telehealth PT empowers clients to take responsibility for their own health, and gives them confidence in their ability to successfully treat themselves and heal from an injury or illness.
Currently Medicare, BCBSVT, CIGNA, and MVP are covering telehealth PT sessions up to 30 minutes long. Other insurances most likely will follow the lead of these companies over the next few weeks. Some of the insurers are covering telehealth sessions at no cost to subscribers. and are not counting these sessions toward the annual allotted number of PT visits. Clients who are interested in telehealth sessions are strongly recommended to call their health insurance plan to confirm that telehealth is covered, what if any cost will the subscriber have to pay, and whether or not the telehealth visit is counted toward the annual allotted number of PT sessions.
Please contact Points North PT if you have any questions!