Last week, in an effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), APTA suspended in-person meetings and APTA business travel by staff or members through April 15, 2020. This included the Federal Advocacy Forum in Washington, DC. APTA has not made any decisions about events occurring after April 15, 2020, including the House of Delegates and NEXT Conference & Exposition in June. We intend to continue to monitor the situation.
Those at APTA did stress that this decision does not dictate the status of activities hosted by APTA chapters and sections. Last week, following State guidance, we made the decision to cancel several District events. The APTA Indiana BOD met last night and agreed to cancel all in person meetings through April 15. We are currently exploring hosting upcoming District meetings virtually and further details will be shared, as available.
I have received many communications this past week relating to Telehealth and whether we can use Telehealth in the care of our patients as we face the challenges of continuing to provide care but limiting face-to-face contact. With the Indiana Physical Therapy Practice Act being silent on the use of Telehealth, there is no prohibition in the Practice Act in the use of Telehealth. It is advised, at this time, that anyone wishing to use Telehealth should consult individual legal counsel. Here is the latest information from APTA about the use of Telehealth.
It has been our plan, since passing the amended Practice Act in 2019, to introduce legislation relating to Telehealth and the Physical Therapy Compact, in 2021, as that is the next long legislative session. This is still our plan. If we are to be successful in introducing legislation to allow for these important changes in our ability to practice in Indiana, we need now to support the legislators who will support us in 2021. The 2020 legislative session ended last week, and during this time, we monitored a number of bills that had the ability to affect the practice of physical therapy in Indiana. To see details of these bills and our involvement, click HERE.
Our support of the APTA Indiana Political Action Committee (PAC) along with our engagement with the legislators is what will move legislation. Now is the time where we can show our support of legislators. If you want to see us move forward with legislation that will cover Telehealth and the PT Compact in 2021, I urge you to consider contributing to the APTA Indiana PAC. Contributions can be made HERE.
Thank you for all you do for your patients at this time of great challenge and uncertainty. Please continue to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions and comments.
Emily Slaven, PT, PhD
President, APTA Indiana