Did you know that some states are requiring occupational therapy providers to take telemedicine training prior to offering telehealth services? Do you know if your state is requiring this of your license? If you’re not sure, you’d better double check because recently Washington state enacted a new law for all licensed OT practitioners beginning in 2021.
I hope I can save you some time and worry by summarizing the most important points you should know about this new law. Throughout this post I’ve included additional resource links that you may find helpful. Here’s a summary of what I think are the most important highlights to be aware of…
Frequently Asked Questions for Telemedicine Training Requirements in WA State
Effective January 1, 2021
What is this new telemedicine training law about?
This telemedicine law passed under Senate Bill 6061and requires all health care providers in licensed in WA State(licensed under RCW 180.130.040) to take telehealth training on or after January 1, 2021. This Telemedicine Training Requirement is issued by the WA State Department of Health (OAS 02-2020).
Why is there a requirement?
Summary of RCW 43.70.495 Telemedicine training for healthcare professionals.
The legislature finds that a large segment of Washington residents do not have access to critical health care services. Telemedicine is a way to increase access to health care services to those who would otherwise not have reasonable access.
The legislature therefore intends to ensure that health care professionals who provide services through telemedicine, as defined in RCW 70.41.020, in cities and rural areas alike, have current information available, making it possible for them to provide telemedicine services to the entire state of Washington.
Senate Bill 6061 stipulates that providers can take the telemedicine training developed by the WA State Telehealth Collaborative or complete an alternative training that covers similar material and provides more specific information pertinent to the health care professional’s specific area of practice, such as occupational therapy.
The WA State training is a general training for telemedicine and does not include specific details about occupational therapy’s scope of practice in telehealth. The primary focus is on policy, rules, regulations and processes that facilities should follow for compliance. There is no specific training on the clinical aspects of providing occupational therapy services via telehealth.
When does my training need to be completed? Is there a deadline?
This law stipulates that health care providers, including occupational therapy practitioners, must take telehealth training on or after January 1, 2021 and are encouraged to complete the training no later than June 30, 2021 as required by RCW 43.70.495. If you complete a training, you must sign and retain an attestation that you completed an approved Telehealth Training.
An approved alternative telehealth training must include the following: Information on current state and federal law, liability, informed consent, and other criteria established by the collaborative for the advancement of telemedicine. Question and answer methodology to demonstrate accrual of knowledge and may be made available in electronic format and completed over the internet.
A healthcare professional is deemed to have met the requirements if:
- You sign and retain an attestation of course completion
- You take alternative training such as: Continuing education courses and training developed by a licensed and certified healthcare professional or by a board or commission.
What must be included in an alternative telehealth training?
To view the full Washington State Telehealth Collaborative Guidelines for Telehealth Training as outlined in SB 6061 Click Here
If you’re worried that you don’t already have a training program in place, there’s no need to stress or reinvent the wheel because I’ve already created a comprehensive telehealth training for you and your team. It’s called T School. Keep on reading to learn more…
What is T School?
T School or “Tele-Health for Pediatric Occupational Therapists” is a comprehensive online training program to set you and your clients up for success!
- Discover the best telehealth activities, no set up required.
- Get access to 50+ online “OT and Kid Approved” resources for treatment planning that you can use immediately.
- Administer online evaluations, including motor assessments.
- Save time with pre-made checklists & forms.
- Know the essential tech features for a telehealth platform.
- Learn tech hacks to keep your kids engaged and attentive.
- Keep your schedule full with committed clients.
- Learn strategies to enhance your “webside” manner along with parent coaching tips and online resources to share.
- Turn your kids & families into raving fans of your online OT sessions!
- AOTA Approved Course for 8 contact hours or .8 CEUs
Learn more about T School CLICK HERE
Does the T School Training meet Washington Telehealth Alternative Training Guidelines?
Yes. The T School curriculum fulfills the basic WA State training requirements.
T School Meets the WA State Training Requirements and it’s the only course of it’s kind that shows you step-by-step, how to level up your telehealth skills by combining your clinical expertise with technology so you can achieve higher levels of competence and confidence in your online practice. Plus, T School is preapproved for AOTA CEUS with a certificate of completion.
I recently took the state telehealth training and it covers the basics, but it does not provide any practical or clinical strategies for how to conduct the most effective telehealth sessions for your clients or students. You can, of course, always go this route with the state training course… However, I personally found that the focus was more on the regulations, policies and procedural aspects of telemedicine which didn’t provide any inspiration or practical applications I could use for my own occupational therapy practice.
Whatever you choose to do to fulfill these new licensing requirements, I’d like to invite you to a FREE and practical training to help you level up your occupational therapy telehealth skills. I promise it’s full of practical advice to help you be as effective and helpful as possible for your students and clients.