Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Telehealth Virtual Appointments
- What is Telehealth?
Telehealth virtual physical therapy appointments refer to physical therapy (PT) services that are provided over an online platform using a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone. PT services are delivered remotely using electronic information and telecommunication technologies such as video and audio. PT services are delivered in real time (a live session) using the online technologies. This allows you to engage and continue your rehabilitation and recovery in an actual therapy session with your PT, while maintaining social distancing and complying with stay-at-home orders, all from the comfort and safety of your home.
- How do I know if Telehealth visits are right for me?
Telehealth is a great tool to use while maintaining social distance requirements, offering PT treatment as an alternative to coming directly into our clinic. Each patient is unique with specific PT needs, so please call us at 815.756.8524 for additional information and to discuss details to ensure you are comfortable with telehealth before your session.
- What if I still prefer to continue to come to the clinic for my PT session? May I still come into the clinic and how do I protect myself from COVID-19?
Yes! You may still visit any of our clinics for your PT session; we remain open and available for you to do so. Your health is our first priority and we want you to be as comfortable as possible. Northern Rehab has implemented several additional precautions for the health and safety of our patients and staff to include:
- Upon check-in, we will take each patient’s temperature and have you wash/sanitize your hands
- Surgical masks will be worn by all Northern Rehab physical therapists and staff, and patients will be required to wear a mask as well per the state order
- We meticulously and continually clean and sanitize all tables, equipment, chairs, countertops and all surfaces to ensure our clinic is as clean as possible
- We continue to maintain social distancing within the clinics; chairs have been spread out in our waiting area, and exercise equipment and treatment tables are moved farther apart in accordance with social distancing guidelines
- A private treatment room is available for your PT session
- We request that family members and caregivers wait outside of the clinic during treatment sessions
- What do I need for a Telehealth appointment?
- A working computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone with a front camera
- A fully charged device, or full access to power
- A good internet connection
- An e-mail address
- A private room with space to move around that is well-lit so your physical therapist can see you
- How can I schedule a Telehealth appointment?
Scheduling an appointment is easy! Just call us at 815.756.8524 and we will explain more about your telehealth visit, answer any questions you may have, and schedule your appointment. You will then receive an e-mail invitation with instructions how to proceed.
- What should I expect at my first Telehealth appointment?
You will receive a comprehensive visit with your physical therapist that will allow for demonstration, interaction and progression of your plan of care. This may include home exercise instructions, feedback, and additional instructions.
- How long will my telehealth PT visit last?
Your e-visit will last 15-30 minutes depending on your specific needs.
- Can I still work with my regular physical therapist?
Absolutely! We will do our best to schedule your telehealth PT visit with the physical therapist you are currently working with.
- What conditions can I receive treatment for via telehealth?
A large variety of conditions can be treated for adults, youth, and children via telehealth for issues affecting the musculoskeletal system, including joints, muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons. Additionally, pre and post-surgical care, repetitive or overuse stress injuries, vertigo and dizziness, balance issues, temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), osteoarthritis, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, and more may be treated via telehealth. Feel free to call us to discuss your situation and we’d be happy to help you decide if telehealth is right for your needs.
- Will my insurance cover telehealth visits?
Our office staff is available to help you understand your insurance benefits. Many insurance companies have added telehealth as a covered PT benefit due to the pandemic but are still developing guidelines. Insurance coverage for telehealth PT appointments may vary, so it is your responsibility to check with your insurance company to see if telehealth is a covered benefit for physical therapy. Feel free to call us with any questions, to explain the details, or to schedule a Telehealth PT appointment; we’d be happy to assist in answering any questions you may have!
- I am seeing a physical therapist through workers’ compensation, but am having reservations about continuing treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic. What should I do?
Please contact your case manager; there may already be guidance available during the health emergency. You may also contact your employer’s human resources department or your union representative. Again, guidance may already be there for you. Additionally, the State of Illinois initiated emergency rules that allow telehealth to be provided for purposes of treatment through workers’ compensation, but please discuss this with your case manager to set up a telehealth appointment. Our front staff is happy to assist you as needed as well.
- Is a physician’s prescription required for Telehealth appointments?
No! In 2018, the State of Illinois passed the Direct Access Law which means a doctor referral/prescription is no longer required to see a physical therapist. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this is important because you do not have to go to a doctor’s office first to get a prescription, and you can avoid urgent care or the hospital ER, which helps to protect you from additional virus exposure while helping with hospital overload. In most situations, the PT will want complete an in-clinic PT evaluation for the first visit, but after that, follow up visits can be done via telehealth if that is your preference. You can call us directly to schedule a same-day or next-day appointment. We’re here to help you feel better now, and we can see you right away!
Certain insurance companies may still require a physician’s prescription for physical therapy, but our friendly staff at Northern Rehab is happy to assist patients in understanding their insurance benefits and requirements related to telehealth physical therapy.
- When my doctor recommends telehealth virtual physical therapy, can I choose where to go for treatment?
You are the CEO of your healthcare! The decision of where you go to receive treatment is yours. If you have a specific therapist or practice you would like to go to, you should let your doctor or insurance company know this. Not all physical therapists or practices are the same and the choice of your provider is yours. Sometimes your physician will recommend a specific therapist or practice to you, sometimes your insurance company will require you to go to specific therapists or practices. You always have the right to ask for a specific provider. If we are not “in network” with your specific insurance company, many have out of network options that still provide coverage and your physical therapist will work with you to assure the best outcome in the most affordable manner.