The Physiotherapy Association of British Columbia (PABC) is working swiftly to provide support to our members, including access to reputable resources and advocacy, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
We understand that this is a complicated and uncertain time for physiotherapists, private practice therapists, and clinic owners and have the team working relentlessly to assist as best we can.
Private Practice and Clinic Owners
PABC recommends that clinics should close for all non-essential treatment and physiotherapists follow the social distancing recommendations extended by the Public Health authorities across BC and the rest of Canada. We advise our physiotherapists to exercise careful considerations and discretion for patients requiring urgent care to protect both the patient and yourselves.
During this rapidly changing situation, we suggest that our members look into providing patients with telerehabilitation and have put together resources on our website to assist you if you choose to follow this route.
Please also see the new statement released by College of Physical Therapists of British Columbia March 17, 2020.
Follow the Canadian Physiotherapy Association for their latest statements
In response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, physical therapists may be considering alternative methods of service provision including telerehabilitation services. There are many considerations a physical therapist must address prior to implementing this practice.
PABC has several resources and links related to telerehab that members may find valuable.
- Physiotherapy Telerehabilitation and Virtual Care: A Quick Guide in Response to COVID-19 (March 15, 2020) Includes information from 3rd party insurance companies. These are the two missing embedded documents from the end of the paper: PABC Telehealth Application Feature Comparison Chart, and Categories of Potential Telehealth Videoconferencing Software Applications.
- PABC also advises members to access the College of Physical Therapists of BC website resource on practicing telerehabilitation. They have provided links to resources they have created, including their guidelines and short webinar.
- In April 2019, Jeremy McAllister produced an informative education session on providing telerehabilitation services in BC (Getting Online with Telerehabilitation in BC). Members can access a recording of the lecture (including guest speakers and panel).
- Advice about fees from physios already using telerehab practices: Fees would be your usual one-on-one time for appointments (20 minutes, 30 minutes, etc…). However, as you are developing this virtual skill, you may need to bill for slightly less time as you adjust to the new technology (i.e. it may take 45-minutes in your virtual visit to cover what you would normally cover in a 30-minute hands-on session so you would invoice for 30-minutes).
The Canadian Physiotherapy Association is also currently working on several statements to assist telerehabilitation.
Cancellation Fee Considerations
As all Canadians are affected by the COVID-19 situation we encourage our members to take a subjective human approach to cancellation fees. It is important to maintain good relationships with your patients during this time, therefore, suggest you consider waiving cancellation fees for appointments.
Business Interruption Insurance - Advised by CPA
Both the CPA and PABC have been receiving queries from members regarding business insurance. Please see the response by CPA:
We have been receiving several questions from business owners on the applicability of their business interruption insurance to their clinic for loss of income as physiotherapy clinics see an increase in cancellations and face shutting their doors. We are working with BMS Group to establish a position and update on the application of your business interruption insurance in the current environment, which we’ll release on Tuesday, March 17. We encourage all members to continue to contact BMS directly for information on your circumstances and policy: https://www.cpa.bmsgroup.com/contact-us.html.
ICBC and WorkSafeBC
We continue to get queries about funding through ICBC and WorkSafeBC that will support physiotherapists providing virtual care. PABC is currently in discussion with both ICBC and WorkSafeBC and we will update our members as the information is made available to us.
As we are working with ICBC and WorkSafeBC, PABC is also advocating for our members with regard to financial support from the Provincial and Federal Governments. We will keep members updated with the latest information.
We are monitoring the situation closely:
- From the federal government
- Provincial government press conference today stated they were aware of concerns from small businesses and contractor workers and would be making an announcement pending the federal announcement.
CPA Advocating on your Behalf
CPA is also actively advocating on behalf of its members and will be releasing a series of advocacy statements on Tuesday, March 17. Please follow the CPA website for latest details https://physiotherapy.ca/cpas-covid-19-update
Stay Healthy and Stay Informed
We encourage our members to monitor the situation and keep up to date by accessing reliable and evidence-based sources.
Here are some helpful links:
Health Information Links
- World Health Organization
- Public Health Agency of Canada
- Coronavirus: Resources for Canadian Businesses
BC Health Authorities Coronavirus Updates
- Vancouver Coastal Health
- Fraser Health
- Island Health
- Interior Health
- First Nations Health
- Northern Health
British Medical Journal
Supporting Each Other
We are not isolated in this worldwide situation and we encourage everyone to be kind to themselves and each other while making informed decisions. We will get through this together, one day at a time!
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