Physical Therapy and Telehealth Q&A

WAC 246-915-187 states that physical therapists and physical therapist assistants may provide physical therapy via telehealth following all the requirements for standard of care. This includes:

  1. The provider must hold a valid Washington state license to practice physical therapy.
  2. Completion of a Washington State approved online telehealth training. Please visit the APTA or Washington State Telehealth Collaborative websites for a list of approved courses. RCW 43.70.495

What is telehealth?

“Telehealth” means providing physical therapy via electronic communication, audio and visual, where the physical therapist or physical therapist assistant are not at the same location as the patient.  

What is meant by the “originating site” and the “distant site?”

The location of the patient is referred to as the “originating site” and the location of the physical therapist or physical therapist assistant is referred to as the “distant site”. For more details and additional definitions, please refer to RCW 70.41.020 Definitions.

Can I deliver telehealth services while my patient is outside of Washington?

It depends. Practice, and need for a license, is typically determined by the location of the patient. It is best to contact the board in the state where your patient is located to inquire about their laws and rules. Some states will require a license, but others may have a limited continuity of care allowance.

What equipment can I use for my telehealth visit?

In Washington, the physical therapist or physical therapist assistant can conduct a telehealth visit using secure, interactive multimedia equipment that includes, at a minimum, audio and video equipment permitting two-way, real time interactive communication between professional and the patient.

Tips for conducting a telehealth visit: