Coronavirus: What OT Practitioners Need to Know

As the COVID-19 Pandemic stretches into its third year, TNOTA remains committed to advocating for our members and promoting best practices for occupational therapy in Tennessee. Our goal is to help equip OT practitioners and students to make informed practice decisions as they navigate a new normal.


Continuing Education & TNOTA Events

Like the rest of our state, TNOTA has begun re-instating face-to-face events with COVID precautions in place. We will continue to host virtual events as well as some in-person meetings and events, evaluated on a case-by-case basis based on the most current state and local guidelines, as well as the ability to physically distance participants. We are continuing to work with our partners at AspireOT to host high-quality OT education content online.  



Telehealth FAQs

Read up on the latest telehealth guidance from AOTA. 

Can occupational therapy telehealth services be provided in the state of Tennessee?

Yes! With the passage of the recent changes to Tennessee's OT practice act, OTPs are now able to practice telehealth in the state of Tennessee permanently. We are currently awaiting the state licensure board to promulgate rules related to telehealth practice for OTPs in Tennessee. Read more details on on our legislative update page or on our advocacy resources page


Can occupational therapy providers licensed in Tennessee provide telehealth services to clients in other states without a license in that state?

No. The occupational therapy provider must be licensed in the physical location of the client unless a state has a specific exemption specified.  


Are telehealth services reimbursed by insurance? 

Pre-pandemic, the answer to this was largely no.  However, many states are implementing emergency changes in this policy for both public and private insurance providers. In April, Governor Lee issued an executive order urging all health insurance carriers to provide coverage for telemedicine, and to remove prior authorization requirements. While many insurance providers are covering OT services via telehealth, this varies based on provider rules. TNOTA's advocacy team has compiled a current list of telehealth coverage in Tennessee, updated 7/6/2021. This list will be updated as changes are made. With the passage of the recent telehealth bill, most healthcare providers' telehealth services are required to be covered similarly to in-person services; however, due to the wording of the bill, it is not yet clear if OT falls under this payment parity mandate. 

 Now is a critical time for us to advocate for ongoing coverage for OT telehealth services.

See more about how you can help advocate for telehealth coverage on our advocacy page.

See also: Healthline article, "Does Medicare Cover Telehealth?"



 TNOTA's Lobbyists: Working for you!

TNOTA employs a lobbying firm that closely monitors legislation and executive orders from our Tennessee government.

Read the latest update here from Capitol & 5th Public Strategies. 



AOTA Resources 

AOTA has been working diligently to both advocate as well as develop specific resources for OT in the age of COVID-19.   We are sharing AOTA's info on our social media accounts and encourage our members to go directly to AOTA website for the most updated information.  As policies and procedures are changing rapidly, AOTA is your best resource for updated content.

AOTA has posted a valuable article on their website, detailing OT's role in providing care during a pandemic.

AOTA maintains and regularly updates a list of state actions affecting OT in response to the COVID 19 pandemic on their state policy page