Practice and Research Committee

The Practice and Research Committee assist the membership in understanding, complying with, and utilizing the PA Physical Therapy Practice Act and serves as a resource for research activities, processes, and education for the membership. Also, the committee serves as a resource to the board of directors and the membership in providing assistance to support best clinical practices within the state of Pennsylvania. We are made up of committee members chosen by the board of directors, with a chair appointed with representation from members across the APTA Pennsylvania chapter.

If you have a clinical practice-related question, please contact the Practice and Research Committee Chair, Mary Ann Wharton, and your question will be forwarded to the appropriate resource person by the committee. The practice Committee may, at times, post questions and responses on the website or in the newsletter when a topic seems particularly relevant or has been asked multiple times. The questioner's identity would not be revealed in such a format.


News

New Practice Updates Include: 

Find the live links and read more about all of these new practice updates on the Practice Updates page!


 

Telehealth Updates:

PA Telehealth Waiver Status

The Pennsylvania WaiverLicensed Health Care Practitioners providing Telemedicine Services”  officially expired on October. 31, 2022.


The PA Department of State published “Frequently Asked Questions to provide guidance on telehealth as a method of practice.  The following are important excerpts from that link:

  • Reaffirms that “…there is no statute in Pennsylvania that explicitly authorizes the use or disallowance of telemedicine in Pennsylvania….” 
  • States that when the telemedicine waiver does expire, “it will not affect licensees’ continued use of telemedicine from a professional standpoint.”
  • States that “practitioners must practice within the acceptable and prevailing standard of care.  Because the practice acts and regulations do not currently address the provision of health-related services by telehealth/telemedicine, there could be no violation for simply using telehealth/telemedicine after October 31, 2022, and in general, there is nothing that would prohibit licensees from using telehealth/telemedicine so long as doing so complies with the standards of acceptable and prevailing medical practice….” 

Please access the Department of State Telemedicine FAQs (pa.gov) for more specific information. Also, please see the information below, which addresses the Professional Scope of Practice as defined by APTA.

Telehealth as a Method of Practice

Act 30 of 2022, signed into law on June 30, 2022, provided for an extension of the Pennsylvania telehealth waiver allowing physical therapists and physical therapist assistants to use telehealth as a method of practice through Oct. 31, 2022. At that time the Department of State also issued Frequently Asked Questions reaffirming that:

“There is no statute in Pennsylvania that explicitly authorizes the use or disallowance of telemedicine in Pennsylvania…” 

and

“In general there is nothing that would prohibit licensees from using telehealth… so long as doing so complies with the standards of acceptable and prevailing …practice…”

Pennsylvania therapists can find evidence to support the use of telehealth as an acceptable method of physical therapy practice delivery from the Professional Scope of Practice, which APTA defines as “grounded in basic, behavioral, and clinical sciences…supported by education, based on a body of evidence, and linked to existing and emerging practice frameworks. The professional scope of practice evolves in response to innovation, research, collaboration, and changes in societal needs.”

There is a significant amount of information on APTA's Telehealth in Practice website indicating that telehealth is included in the professional scope as a method of practice delivery. There are numerous articles discussing the use of telehealth, and there is also a certificate course for therapists.

Be advised that there may be conditions imposed on the use of telehealth by payers, including Medicare. APTA PA encourages member therapists who elect to continue using telehealth, to monitor the Payment Specialist’s Telehealth/E-Visit Quick Reference Guide for updates on which insurers are providing reimbursement for telehealth services.

We will continue to monitor Pennsylvania.gov websites and will inform you of any new information as it becomes known.


 Telehealth Reimbursement

On March 11, 2022, Congress passed and President Biden signed into law a 1.5 trillion spending package. This legislation includes a provision allowing PTs to continue receiving payment for telehealth under Medicare for an additional 5 months past the end of the public health emergency - a 151 day extension.  The current renewal of the PHE until January, 2023 allows Medicare reimbursement for telehealth to continue until June, 2023. The legislation also relaxes Medicare requirements about where patients and providers must be located for telehealth services, to include in home services across all geographic regions.  

Reimbursement by commercial insurers: refer to Payment Specialist updates for current status.

The Practice & Research Committee will continue to monitor Pennsylvania.gov and pertinent websites and will inform you of any new information as it becomes known.


NEWPractice Spotlights

The APTA Pennsylvania Practice & Research Committee "Practice Spotlights," are published as a member benefit. These brief handouts and videos address various clinical topics of interest for PTs, PTAs, and students and will be released periodically. The spotlights will be featured in the weekly APTA Pennsylvania event emails on Tuesday afternoons and available to view on the Practice Spotlight page (please note: member login required).


Practice Updates

The Practice & Research Committee is transitioning to reporting practice-related information to keep PTs, PTAs, and students informed of important information pertaining to physical therapy practice. Information related to COVID that needs to be communicated will be reported here. The updates will be announced in the APTA PA Weekly, with more detailed information linked as a member service on the Practice Updates page.

Review the Practice Update Archive for older articles/resources.


COVID-19 Updates

Review all COVID-19 updates on the APTA Pennsylvania COVID-19 FAQ & Resource page.


Research Participation Opportunities

PT/PTA STUDENT RESEARCH SURVEY PARTICIPATION OPPORTUNITIES

 

Committee Members

Mary Ann Wharton
Practice & Research Committee Chair
Term ends: 12/31/22

Pam Pologruto
Brooke Klatt
Alexis Del Palazzo
  Mark Drnach

Kimberly Wynarczuk
Tammy Frey, PTA
Melissa Myers, SPT