Frequently Asked Questions about Telehealth:
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth (also called teletherapy) is therapy provided over the internet through a live video connection, for optimal social distancing. Patients will receive a similar treatment session as they would in person, it’s just done through the computer utilizing equipment from home. A teletherapy session uses a setup like a FaceTime or Skype connection, except it’s secure and encrypted to protect the patient’s privacy.
We are offering teletherapy as a stopgap measure during the COVID-19 crisis to increase patient access to necessary treatment. This allows us to provide continuity of care to our patients when they cannot be seen in person for therapy. It is imperative that we help our patients maintain progress towards their goals and newly acquired functional gains, preventing regression.
Depending on the age or ability of the patient, a technology support person or caregiver may be helpful (in the patient’s home) to assist in delivering components of the therapy, via guided coaching from the therapist.
Which of your services is Telehealth available for?
We are currently offering telehealth for Speech, Occupational and Physical Therapy appointments in our Pediatric Center, as well as Hand Therapy appointments in our Hand Clinic.
Am I required to sign up for Telehealth appointments?
As therapy is considered a dosed treatment, much like taking a prescription medication toward a desired end, it is recommended to have consistent sessions. Teletherapy is an alternate service delivery option we offer to serve our patients during these unprecedented times. Many physician offices are also choosing to use this method.
Patients who are health-compromised, at risk, or staying at home during this time can find teletherapy to be a convenient option for continuing their medical care with minimal interruption. Research has shown that intensive (2-3 treatment sessions/week of therapy) by a licensed therapist sustains gains and yields optimal results.
In order to benefit from continuity of care, we recommend our patients call 425-481-1933, option 2 for Pediatric OT, PT or Speech or The Hand Clinic at 425-892-2243, to make appointments for recurring teletherapy sessions during the weeks you are sheltered at home.
Will insurance cover Telehealth?
Telehealth is simply a change to the service delivery method – online vs in person – of how you/ your child receives therapy. The core therapy services you receive will remain the same – Speech, Occupational, Physical or Hand therapy. All WA health plans must cover telehealth services if an in-network provider offers it and the services are medically necessary.
On March 25, 2020, WA Governor Jay Inslee signed a proclamation that provides payment parity between health care providers. In order to serve more patients, Gov. Inslee’s measure would increase the parity between those health care providers who deliver in-person care and those who do it through telemedicine. Telemedicine claims must now be reimbursed at the same level as care delivered face-to-face. Telemedicine claims cannot be denied by insurance carriers.
SB 5385, passed by the WA State Legislature would do the same thing, although its implementation date was not set until January 2021. The Governor’s March 25 proclamation will allow this to go into effect immediately to help increase access to care during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Be advised that co-pays and co-insurances will be collected by phone or through our website. We are no longer taking cash at the front desk for payments as a precaution of exposure.
What does a Telehealth session look like?
Based on the type of therapy a patient receives from us, a teletherapy session may differ slightly in content from an in-person appointment. Whether the patient attends in person or remotely, we will continue to deliver high quality therapy to help each individual achieve their treatment goals.
Once you have scheduled your teletherapy session, you will receive a confirmation email with information that will help set up the session. For example, “Hi I am looking forward to our session today. Please have a sturdy chair, a basketball and 2 crayons and paper handy “
What does the space setup look like for a Telehealth appointment?
Patients can access the telehealth (teletherapy) platform remotely via their computer or mobile device from the comfort of their own home. We recommend setting up the computer in a quiet space where both patient and therapist can communicate effectively with minimal distractions.
The patient and therapist will be able to see and hear each other like any other video call. The format of the teletherapy session varies by the type of therapy a patient is receiving, and may differ slightly in content from an in-person appointment. When the patient attends an appointment remotely, rest assured we will continue to deliver high quality, private therapy sessions to help each individual achieve their treatment goals.
What Telehealth platform do you use and is it HIPAA compliant?
Bothell Pediatric & Hand Therapy uses a secure and HIPAA-compliant video conferencing platform, with an encrypted online connection.
For Speech Therapy, we use TheraPlatform, and for OT, PT, and Hand Therapy we use a Zoom secure connection.
Can I access Telehealth from my tablet or phone?
Yes. On tablet or mobile phone, patients can access teletherapy via web browser and don’t need to download any apps. Please note: we do not recommend using a mobile phone to access teletherapy, due to the small screen size and potential interruptions from incoming calls or texts. Desktop computer, laptop, or tablets are preferred for the best experience.
What are the technology setup requirements?
You don’t have to download anything to access telehealth with us. It is a web-based platform that can be accessed via Internet browser.
To use TheraPlatform (for Speech Therapy appointments), you need:
– A computer or mobile device
– A built-in or external camera
– A microphone, speakers, or a headphone
– For computers: the latest version of Google Chrome or Firefox browser
– For iPads and iPhones: the latest version of Safari browser
– For Android devices: the latest version of Google Chrome browser
TheraPlatform operates at low bandwidth levels, however the greater is your Internet speed, the greater the overall experience. We recommend: Ping: 25, Download: 3Mbps/sec, Upload: 3Mbps/sec. You can test your Internet connection speed at: http://www.speedtest.net.
For OT, PT, and Hand Therapy, please see Zoom’s system requirements >>
How do I get set up for Telehealth appointments?
Once you have scheduled your telehealth appointment with our front desk, you will be emailed instructions on how to log into your teletherapy appointment.
To schedule your telehealth appoinment today, call:
Pediatric Center 425-481-1933
Hand Clinic 425-892-2243
How long is a session?
Telehealth sessions vary in length by type of appointment (Speech, Occupational, Physical or Hand therapy). Ask your therapist how much time you should allow for the appointment.
Is there a limit to how many Telehealth appointments I can make per week?
Treatment sessions may be scheduled according to each patient’s plan of care. For example, 2x/week for 6-12 weeks. Ask your therapist what frequency of appointments they recommend to help you reach your treatment goals. We look forward to continue serving you!
“The ability to use teletherapy for my son’s speech therapy helped keep continuity to our weekly schedule during a time of so much change to our regular routine.
My son loves his time with Maria and he stayed engaged and a willing participant during his session (which can be a lot to ask of a 4 year old). We were able to use items we had at home as well as digital tools on the therapist’s end to to make the entire session a success.”
– Elizabeth, parent