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A Permanent Policy Solution on Telehealth for Therapy

ome major advocacy pushes for the profession are getting attention: A bipartisan bill introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives targets several big legislative issues being worked on by APTA, including a proposed severe cut to Medicare payments and permanent continuation of physical therapy delivered via telehealth. If adopted and signed into law, the legislation could mark a major win for the profession and its patients.

If signed into law, the legislation would permanently allow PTs, OTs, SLPs, and facilities that provide outpatient therapy to bill Medicare for outpatient therapy services furnished via telehealth. Early on in the COVID-19 public health emergency, CMS enacted waiver provisions that ultimately led to telehealth allowances for therapy, but those permissions are set to expire when the public health emergency ends (no word yet on when that will be). A permanent change in telehealth policy is beyond the authority of CMS, hence the need for legislative action.