All About telePT

Welcome to the wonderful world of telePT! This document will answer many of your questions about Online Physical Therapy and provide useful information and suggestions regarding telePT. We’ll go over the following topics:

  • telePT is a recognized healthcare service.
  • The Lifetime Athlete telePT services can meet many of your specific therapeutic needs.
  • telePT is proven by research to be ideal for a variety of chronic pain and injury problems.
  • telePT is covered by many private health insurance companies.
  • Reimbursement for telePT is equivalent to office visits in most states.
  • All TLA telePT sessions are HIPAA-compliant.
  • TLA telePT can be more effective than an office visit in many situations.
  • The efficiency of the TLA telePT experience is exceptional.
  • TLA telePT will soon be available in many states.
  • The telePT process is extremely simple and convenient.
  • The requirements for telePT are minimal.
  • telePT is 21st-century healthcare that gets you maximum value and results.

One quick thing…if you’d like to learn “all about telePT” but would rather hear it than read it — simply check out Episode 76 and Episode 117 of the podcast. Or watch this video.

Online physical therapy is a part of the telehealth revolution. According to the American Telemedicine Association, telehealth is the delivery of healthcare services that utilize telecommunications technology to enhance the delivery and efficiency of the healthcare system for all citizens. Also known as teletherapy or telerehabilitation, telePT is a powerful option for many patients and clients. 

At The Lifetime Athlete, I offer telePT as a cutting-edge tool for chronic pain and injury problems. This is not a replacement for brick-and-mortar, hands-on applications which are indicated for acute or post-operative conditions. However, it’s a perfect solution for anyone who has a nagging issue or concern that has been unresponsive to interventions tried previously…and who wants to address the root cause of their problem and solve it once and for all — not just treat the symptoms. As a master clinician, I specialize in helping you filter away all the extraneous BS, and get results quickly.

Here are some examples of conditions that I have helped clients to address successfully using the telePT model:

  • Low back pain
  • Neck pain and headaches
  • Shoulder tendinopathy such as rotator cuff or impingement syndrome
  • Postural issues
  • Sports injuries and impaired performance
  • Chronic hamstring or other muscle problems
  • Hip/knee/ankle/foot pain and disorders
  • Movement dysfunction and insufficiencies with strength and stability or flexibility and mobility

TelePT is proven by research to be ideal for many chronic pain and injury problems. The two most important aspects of a physical therapy encounter are impairment identification and prioritization, and education. This is most effectively accomplished through verbal and visual interactions. These forms of communication are utilized for information exchange — listening to you intently and watching you move carefully,  and then teaching you what your problem is, what is causing it, and how to fix it. This includes demonstrations, the use of models, and screen-sharing of practical, graphical examples. The telePT system allows for additional time and resources to be put into the creation of understanding and competency because it can focus on this capacity without interruption or distraction. Learning a few simple corrective exercises and techniques that give you the autonomy to manage your problem is easy and straightforward.

TelePT is a recognized healthcare service that is covered by many insurance companies. A covered service is one that is considered to be legal, valuable, and legitimate. Reimbursement varies from one insurer to another, and is dependent upon the specific aspects of your individual policy. As with any healthcare intervention involving insurance reimbursement, it’s always a good idea to read through your policy and consult with your insurance representative regarding coverage, deductible and copay amounts, and other stipulations. We all pay a princely sum for our health insurance benefits, and it is important that we take up the torch to communicate that we deserve the right to select the services for which we want to utilize our benefits…as opposed to having the insurance company tell us what we can and cannot choose. That stated, in almost all cases when telePT is not reimbursable by insurance, it is generally approved to utilize a flexible spending plan or health savings account for the services. Again, review your plan and account guidelines if you have questions. [COVID-19 Update: Medicare does not currently authorize PT as a covered telehealth entity, although this is an extremely dynamic situation and may be subject to change.]

Most states have parity laws in place that require insurers to reimburse for telePT at the same rate as an office visit. TelePT involves 1-on-1 intensive provider time and in many cases this is a more focused session than a brief clinical interaction filled with distraction. The laws differ from state to state, but there is an ever-increasing recognition of the quality of the telePT interaction…and the need for it to be reimbursed commensurate with this level of excellence. 

All telePT sessions at The Lifetime Athlete are provided in compliance with the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). You can’t use Skype, Hangouts, or FaceTime for a telePT session because they do not provide the appropriate level of security. I use a Zoom product which is HIPAA-compliant and I maintain the absolute highest standards with regard to confidentiality and data management. Additionally, all records of service are provided to the client. [COVID-19 Update: The requirements regarding the security of communication have been temporarily relaxed…but this may be subject to change. Your provider should be up to date on this situation.]

A telePT session with me can often be more effective than an office visit at many clinics. I alluded to this before and there are several reasons for this situation. The intensive 1-on-1 time allows us to fully concentrate on solving your problem without distraction. Also, I always present myself as a humble, lifelong learner but I’m also an expert therapist and master clinician. I don’t know it all and I (or any other clinician) never will, but with over 3 decades of experience, multiple certifications, and extensive continuing education, helping you solve your injury problems is my wheelhouse. I can reliably cut to the chase and help you find the 1 or 2 major issues causing your problem, and follow that up with the 2 or 3 lifestyle interventions or exercises that most effectively address those issues. I have nothing against my colleagues who are novice therapists — I was once one myself. But what you don’t need is a list of 27 items that are wrong with you and an exercise program with 54 nonspecific and inefficacious movements. I really work hard to keep things simple and effective…results without complexity or confusion.

With TLA, a telePT session can be an incredibly efficient and enjoyable experience. Efficiency is all about saving time, energy, money and frustration. By removing the commute, the reception and checkout desk, and the waiting room, a telePT session can easily fit into your busy day. The effort required to get in front of your smartphone, laptop or tablet for an appointment is minimal. Costs for telePT are about half of that of a typical office visit. And all this combines for a smooth, pleasant, seamless experience.

The nationwide Physical Therapy Compact is expanding on an increasing level. The Compact allows reciprocity of licensure for physical therapists across state borders. Currently, 20 states are participating, and another 15 are in the process of passing and enacting legislature. Presently, I am licensed in Montana and provide telePT services for residents of that state. Montana has passed the legislation necessary to join the Compact and is expected to fully enact these privileges in the near future, at which time I will be pleased to make my services available to residents of all states participating in the Compact. You can check out this map to see if your state is currently offering and accepting Compact privileges.

The TLA telePT process is extremely simple and convenient. To schedule an appointment, select “Online PT” from the menu, and then hit the “Work w/JZ” button (included below). You can choose from a number of available time slots, and pay for your session. You’ll get an immediate receipt, a link for your scheduled meeting, and you can sync the appointment to your calendar of choice. The system also sends you an email reminder of your upcoming session. In our meeting, we’ll review your history and symptoms, conduct an evaluation appropriate to your condition using video, and then we will perform and review the interventions and exercises which are indicated. You’ll receive photo, video, or text instructions for your program which makes everything easy to implement. After the visit, you’ll also receive a comprehensive record of service document that contains all the appropriate codes and descriptors for you to submit to your insurance carrier. No handouts and no hassles.

TelePT requires a minimal amount of equipment, tech savvy, space, and time. All you need is a device (laptop, tablet, smartphone) with a webcam and a stable surface. You can access the meeting link through any web browser or you can choose to install the free Zoom meeting software. I advise my clients to be in a quiet, front-lit (lighting in front of you instead of behind to reduce glare) space and to wear clothing that allows for freedom of movement in performing assessments and exercises. No disrobing is necessary. It won’t be sweat-intensive. Documentation and supportive information is sent with secure encryption via your valid email address. 

Getting the best results and the greatest value is what telePT is all about. Our healthcare system is rife with many challenges. The practice of getting and keeping people healthy has become Big Business. Hospital organizations, insurance and pharmaceutical companies, and related industries have turned many of our medical and wellness interventions into unpleasant, expensive, and often impersonal experiences. These entities have entire departments with names such as cost containment, billing and coding, medical debt collection, revenue enhancement, fraud and abuse, and risk management [no kidding – these are actual departments at your local hospital]. Most consumers are stuck with high deductible plans that, outside of catastrophic occurrences (for which we truly need insurance), lead to most annual healthcare being an out-of-pocket expenditure. telePT effectively addresses this concern by providing quality, ethical, economical, and effective services to optimize health and life.

At TLA, the average number of visits required to successfully treat the conditions listed above is 3.4. This is an exceptionally low and cost-effective number of sessions. This represents all the quality and efficiency we discussed above and it means you pay less overall on the way to more rapid and successful outcomes.

Maybe telePT is right for you. If you’ve got a pain or injury problem that you need to solve and you see a good fit with both your condition and the system of telePT at TLA, I’d love to work with you and help you achieve your goals. Join the revolution!

just hit the button and we’ll get to work on your physical therapy sesssion!