Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources

On behalf of the entire board of NJOTA, we would like to take this opportunity to wish our colleagues and communities well for the coming weeks. 

Check back frequently as new information is constantly being updated.

 


 Telehealth in the School System

March 31, 2020
Hello NJOTA Members,

There have been many questions regarding telehealth in the school system. Please know that we are actively working with Tracie our lobbyist to change the legislation that is on the governor's desk. Please see the details below and stay tuned for additional updates.

  • NJOTA was made aware that Assembly Bill 3904 did not include OT services specifically on Monday, late in the day.
  • NJOTA worked with our lobbyist to propose including OT, however, we were informed there were no modifications or additions to the bill.
  • Assembly Bill 3904 was passed on Wednesday, March 25 as originally worded.
  • NJOTA was advised on March 30 that the bill would move forward to senate vote as amended here in bold:

If a program of virtual or remote instruction is implemented for the general education students the same educational opportunities shall be provided to 1[the special education students, to the extent appropriate and practicable. Speech-language services and counseling services may be delivered to special education students through the use of electronic communication or a virtual or online platform, as appropriate] students with disabilities. Special education and related services, including speech-language services, counseling services, physical therapy, and occupational therapy, may be delivered to students with disabilities through the use of electronic communication or a virtual or online platform as required by the student's Individualized Education Program (IEP), to the greatest extent possible. 

We do not have a date for the Senate vote as of yet but the NJOTA lobbyist will advise. 

Please know that NJOTA continues to advocate on behalf of all NJOTA occupational therapy practitioners and will advise as we hear updates. Please continue to reach out and check www.njota.org for updates as well.

Be well and be healthy!

Felicia Chew, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA
NJOTA President


 

State-by-State Resources

Several organizations have been putting together state-by-state resources that we wanted to share in case you find it helpful:


Telehealth Resources
March 16, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

New Jersey is one of the most recent states to adopt telemedicine laws. This new legislation requires that private insurance companies pay for telehealth services at similar rates to in-person medical care. This is great news for anyone interested in expanding telemedicine in the state of New Jersey and especially during these precarious times.

New Jersey’s law does not say exactly which services are and are not covered. However, it does state that the standard of care must be equal to in-person care.

Currently, New Jersey state law and Medicaid guidelines do not restrict which healthcare providers can practice telemedicine.  Occupational therapists are included in the law.

New Jersey requires that the provider be licensed in the state. Unfortunately, New Jersey is not yet part of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, which helps out-of-state providers get licensed across state lines. 

Currently, New Jersey does not have any restrictions on where the patient has to be during the telehealth visit or service. New Jersey requires private payers and Medicaid to reimburse telemedicine services at the same rate as in-person services.

Resources:

I perused the NJ Advisory Council’s website and spoke with the Advisory Council representative today, and although they received several calls regarding telehealth regulations, there have not yet been any laws established by the council.

Kind Regards for a healthy season,

Miriam Manela OTR
Legislation co-chairs NJOTA

 


NJOTA Update – COVID-19

March 16, 2020
These are unprecedented times as COVID-19 (coronavirus) increases around the globe.  The safety and wellbeing of our community of therapists, community of clients, and communities at large is our number one priority.  As the situation evolves, we continue to take advice from the public health authorities including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), AOTA, and NCBOT.

Outbreaks involving novel viruses evolve quickly and recommendations from public health officials may change frequently as new information becomes available.  You should continue to be diligent in checking official sites for additional information.

There is also conflicting information and interpretation about whether therapy is considered essential or not. We advise you to ask your employer and check NJDOH, CDC, and CMS.

The following resources may be helpful as you determine your work plan, mitigate risk, and look at alternative services.

CDC

AOTA

  •  OT and Telehealth in the Age of COVID-19: Additional flexibilities for telehealth have been incorporated into both federal programs and private insurance. However, these flexibilities don’t always expand the definition of who can provide telehealth services.
  • Looking for information on whether you can use telehealth in your state and considerations for practice while many areas are under precautions for COVID-19? AOTA’s Telehealth Resources page contains resources to help OT practitioners to navigate this emerging area.
  • AOTA has created a comprehensive list of State-by-State Resources pertaining to COVID-19 (PDF)

NJDOH

  • According to the NJDOH, “The most important response strategy is the use of personal protective measures, including good hygiene habits …..Person-to-person spread is thought to occur mainly through respiratory droplets. While much is still to be learned, touching a contaminated surface and then touching the mouth, nose, or eyes, might also contribute to the spread….CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including frequent handwashing for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or if unavailable, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Covering coughs and sneezes, cleaning frequently touched surfaces, and staying home while sick are other key measures to take to prevent COVID-19 from spreading.”
  • For the NJDOH’s full statement please see:  https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/documents/topics/NCOV/COVID19_schools_FINAL_updated_3.13.2020.108125.pdf

On behalf of the entire board of NJOTA, we would like to take this opportunity to wish our colleagues and communities well for the coming weeks.