WCB reached out to SPA and requested the association distribute its communication related to tele-rehabilitation and billing to SPA members. Please see WCB’s April 14 communication at http://saskphysio.org/information-on-covid-19/131-april-14-update-from-wcb-re-new-injuries.
We appreciate the urgency to distribute this information to SPA members due to the current limitation on initiating care for injured workers.
As a self-regulated profession, physiotherapy has practice guidelines established by our regulatory body. SPA recommends in the interim that physiotherapists follow the SCPT guidelines and bill for services as able using the billing codes accepted by WCB, even if they do not represent the services provided. Please consult the SCPT’s practice guidelines for further direction on care.
SPA will seek further clarification on tele-rehabilitation services in the future and potentially establish specific codes for physiotherapy services provided through tele-rehabilitation.
SPA wishes to emphasize that it is imperative for patient safety and protection of the physiotherapist, that when providing services through tele-rehabilitation, the physical therapist must follow SCPT’s practice guidelines. In the initial contact with a client through tele-rehabilitation, your comprehensive assessment should include documentation of all subjective and objective findings, leading to further planning and implementation of treatment. There is no evidence to support conducting a physiotherapy assessment conducted over the telephone unless virtual methods are not possible.
SCPT Practice Guideline #1 - Assessment and Analysis:
SCPT Practice Guideline #2 - Planning:
SCPT’s Practice Guideline #3 - Implementation:
SCPT’s Practice Guideline #24 - Telerehabilitation
Care should be based on the SCPT guidelines. Please consider contacting WCB’s PT Consultants if you have questions surrounding care and requests to provide services outside of the guidelines (e.g., if a different frequency of treatment is clinically indicated).
Further steps for SPA:
We are preparing for a consultation of members regarding tele-rehabilitation using an online forum. The objective of the consultation is to gather perspectives from members on the use of tele-rehabilitation strategies to provide physiotherapy services. We are interested in identifying the perceived barriers and facilitators to practicing physical therapy using tele-rehabilitation, in order to inform the provision of care. We would like member input to provide direction to our advocacy and work in the future. To better support your practice in these uncertain times, SPA plans to commence a broader member consultation in the next two weeks. A second phase of the study may include engaging with key informants.
Due to the pandemic, we will be using an online discussion board that is conducive to this type of engagement. More details about this initiative will be shared shortly under the member area on our website and through email.
Comments and feedback gathered from this consultation will help us outline a plan to support your practice in these unprecedented circumstances and inform our conversation with WCB on the topic of tele-rehabilitation services and billing.
Lacey Nairn Pederson, MPT
President, Saskatchewan Physiotherapy Association