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NYSOTA's Message About COVID-19

NYSOTA’s Message About COVID-19: How We Are Supporting New York State’s OT Practitioners, Educators, and Students


There are many issues, and more questions than answers, surrounding the provision and practice of occupational therapy right now. NYSOTA is here for you, and doing everything we can to advocate, find solutions, and provide guidance during these uncertain and unprecedented times.

 

NYSOTA is in daily contact with AOTA Regulatory Affairs and receiving regular updates from the governor’s office. And as always, our tireless Legislative Chair, Jeff Tomlinson, is at the forefront of the issues working with our lobbyists to help resolve them.


It is NYSOTA’s goal to keep you informed. Please check this page regularly for resources and updates on a variety of issues and efforts relating to COVID-19. And please, let us know how we can help you. Email us at info@nysota.org to share the issues you are facing, and the questions you need answered.


Most importantly, stay safe and strong. We will get through this by working together.

 

 

The Role of Occupational Therapy During a Pandemic

Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants have been deemed essential critical infrastructure workers in a memorandum from the Department of Homeland Security. This makes it more important than ever to get New York State practitioners the tools and support they need to continuing working and providing services.

 

 

Telehealth FAQ

Telehealth has been the question on everyone's minds, and we have been in almost daily contact with the Department of Health and the State Board of Occupational Therapy as we seek guidance and clarification for practitioners throughout New York State. Here is the information we know so far. We will continue to update this as changes are made and new information becomes available.
 
Are OTs allowed by law to provide OT services via telehealth?
Yes, since 2015, through NYSOTA's advocacy efforts, the New York public health law section was amended to include the occupational therapist as a telehealth provider.

Are occupational therapy assistants working in EI allowed to provide OT services via telehealth?
Yes, on April 2nd, we received official word from the NYS DOH Bureau of Early Intervention (BEI) that occupational therapy assistants are now permitted to provide virtual EI services with appropriate supervision during the COVID-19 declared state of emergency. In addition, Early Intervention has been deemed an essential service during this time. The BEI is asking that a teletherapy approach be used for EI service delivery to the maximum extent possible. Here are some helpful BEI Resources:

Are school-based occupational therapy assistants allowed to provide OT services via telehealth?
Yes, as of April 14, school-based occupational therapy assistants (P-12) have been given permission to deliver services via telehealth, under the usual supervision of an OT, during the State of Emergency declared by Governor Cuomo in response to the COVID-19 health crisis. Visit the NYSED Office of the Professions COVID-19 FAQ page for additional information and updates.
 

 

Additional Resources

Center for Disease Control (CDC) Recommendations

New York Department of Health

AOTA COVID-19 Resources

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