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Virtual Visits: the role of Physical Therapists during the Coronavirus

Given the recent outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), many people are unable to attend regularly scheduled medical appointments like physical therapy. In addition, the shut-down of local gyms and fitness facilities limits options for exercise to prevent physical decline and subsequent health issues. Those that experience the onset of new musculoskeletal pain or acute dizziness can be effectively triaged by a physical therapist with a direct access license, freeing up other areas of the healthcare system for those experiencing COVID symptoms. As a result, the Maine Strong Balance Center has implemented a plan to combat the Coronavirus crisis through virtual therapy sessions.

Previously not covered by most medical insurances including Medicare, in an emergency press

release conducted March 17th, President Trump announced expanding telehealth coverage to improve access. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) responded by announcing that Medicare will cover e-visits with a physical therapist for its beneficiaries throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Private insurance companies are independently choosing to cover versions of telehealth or e-visits, although the coverage is specific to each carrier.

Access to telehealth and e-visits allows those who should not leave their house an opportunity to speak to a professional. Via video or telephone call, a physical therapist can progress a current treatment plan, triage new pain or symptoms, or assist in developing an exercise program to prevent decline. This care not only ensures patients are receiving necessary medical care, but assist with reducing the overall health burden on hospitals and doctors’ offices.

Virtual therapy allows people of all ages to safely keep moving and address physical problems from the comfort of their own home. Unfortunately, balance difficulty and pain do not go away during a pandemic, but rest assured, the Maine Strong Balance Center is working together with the community to find ways to help.

If you are interested in learning more about virtual therapy at the Maine Strong Balance Center, please visit, call us at (207) 303-0612 or send us a message at

In good health, the Balance Center Team

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