Directions for How to Contact your State Representatives

STEP 1: Go to: https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Members/District

Find my Representatives – Look up

STEP 2: Enter your address and zip code

STEP 3: Once your representatives pop up, scroll down to Maryland Legislative District (if you go to Maryland Congressional District, you’ll get U.S. representatives and not state representatives)

Sample (you’ll have different representatives listed depending on your district)

STEP 4: From individual representative links, locate the email address and EITHER cut and paste the address into your email or click on the address (clicking on the address may take you to a different provider for your email).

STEP 5: Paste your letter into the email AND add as an attachment.

STEP 6: Hit send and you are done.

STEP 7: Let everyone know you sent your letters by posting to MOTA’s Facebook group! We’re going to track posts and raffle off a year MOTA membership.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR ADVOCACY!

MOTA Compact Letter to Representative DRAFT

January [ENTER DATE], 2021

Dear [Ms./Mr.] [ENTER LAST NAME],

I am writing in support of the Interstate Occupational Therapy Licensure Compact (SB0139/HB TBD). The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) created the interstate professional licensing compact for occupational therapists to support license portability. As an occupational therapist, I agree that the Interstate Occupational Therapy Licensure Compact bill would support members of my profession across state lines to provide continuity of care, improve access to occupational therapy services, and support relocation of occupational therapy professionals.

We understand that this Licensure Compact will go into effect once 10 states pass identical legislation. The Maryland Occupational Therapy Association (MOTA) has also expressed support for this bill, placing Maryland at the forefront of this legislation and advancing the interests of occupational therapists in Maryland and surrounding areas. We are certain that legislation will soon be introduced in both Delaware and Virginia, with Pennsylvania soon to follow, which incentivizes Maryland even further to take a lead in a regional approach to OT licensing. As a state bordering four other states and the District of Columbia, many occupational therapists stand to benefit from this legislation. Ease of practicing across state lines will allow traveling therapists, military families, and telehealth providers to improve access to care for all types of clients. The OT Compact will increase licensure portability while allowing member state regulatory boards to better protect consumers through enhanced sharing of licensure information. Existing interstate occupational licensure compacts have been successful in reducing barriers for practitioners who wish to provide services in other states.

It is important to note that the OT Compact preserves each member state’s authority to regulate the profession. Practitioners utilizing the OT Compact must abide by the laws and rules of the state in which they are practicing, including adhering to that state’s scope of practice.

In addition, [IF POSSIBLE, CUSTOMIZE WITH YOUR OWN EXAMPLES OF HOW THE COMPACT WOULD ALLOW YOUR PATIENTS TO MORE EASILY RECEIVE CARE, OR YOU TO PROVIDE CARE IN STATES OTHER THAN MARYLAND]

Thank you for considering my support of SB0139 – The Interstate Occupational Therapy Licensure Compact. I look forward to your support for this bill.

Sincerely,

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

[ADD YOUR NAME

YOUR TITLE

YOUR FACILITY NAME]

Interstate Professional Licensing Compact for Occupational Therapists

SB/139

Overview and Timeline

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), in partnership with the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) and the Council of State Governments (CSG), has created an interstate professional licensing compact for occupational therapy to address licensure portability.  The purpose of the Compact is to facilitate interstate practice of occupational therapy (OT) with the goal of improving public access to OT services.  An interstate licensing compact would not change state occupational therapy practice acts or the scope of practice.

In order to enter into the Occupational Therapy Licensure Compact, each participating state must pass identical legislation.  The Compact will go into effect once 10 states enact legislation.  Once enacted, a newly created Occupational Therapy Compact Commission would administer the Compact, including developing bylaws and a code of ethics; and overseeing administrative tasks, including hiring staff and managing the Compact’s data system.

How Does Licensure Portability Work Under A Compact

A compact is a legal agreement between states, which will allow licensed OTs and occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) in Maryland to practice in other states that join the compact.  Currently, OTs and OTAs must obtain licensure in each state in which they want to practice. 

OTs licensed in Maryland would still be required to meet all licensure requirements set out by the Maryland Board of Occupational Therapy Practice.  In addition, OTs licensed in other states would be subject to Maryland’s laws and regulations when providing services in Maryland through the compact. 

Improving Consumer Access While Addressing Workforce Shortages

Among the many benefits of enacting an interstate compact, the primary benefits to consumers and health care providers are to: 

  1. Improve access to OT services through facilitating the use of telehealth across state lines.  The increase of telehealth over the past several years has led to a myriad of differing state laws.  Even where workforce shortages exist, this patchwork means many consumers are unable to access services via telehealth from an OT if they are not located in the same state.  This is due to the confusion among OTs on when and how they can provide telehealth services across state lines.  Compacts provide guidance on how health care professionals can provide services through telehealth, while allowing states to retain their own rules.    
  2. Improve continuity of care, including for specialty services.  One of the major benefits of establishing a compact in Maryland is to allow consumers to access their provider, whether through telehealth or in-person, when they reside or relocate to a border state.  There are several examples of how this benefits consumers:
    1. A child with a disability or complex medical need can continue to see their regular OT that they have a treatment relationship with if they are temporarily sent to an out-out-state care facility for treatment.
    1. Medical systems that cover multiple border states can more readily recruit OTs to see patients in their homes or other community settings without the burden of obtaining and retaining multiple state licenses.
    1. An older adult who moves to another state to live with relatives can continue to access OT services via telehealth, including consulting with family members on environmental adaptations to the home.
    1. A consumer who requires a specialist out-of-state can readily receive pre- and post- treatment and consultation via telehealth, reducing the burden to travel to every appointment.
  3. Support the relocation of OT professionals, particularly military spouses.  As each state has its own unique rules regarding reciprocity, delays in obtaining licensure are commonplace when moving from one state to another.  Compacts have the benefit of ensuring that OTs will be able to more readily begin providing services when relocating, while still meeting an agreed upon set of education and training standards. 
  4. Assist in the recruitment of OTs.  Building on #3 above, having an expedited process for OTs to work in multiple states allows health facilities and other employers to more readily recruit OTs from out-of-state.  OTs will no longer be required to reapply for licensure when relocating, which is often a barrier for health employers trying to recruit. 

See the Council of State Governments for more information about licensure compacts.

New Student Representative Needed Beginning 2021

My name is Marley Merrick, and I am the Maryland Occupational Therapy Association (MOTA) student representative. I finished by bachelor’s degree in occupation and well-being in May 2020, and have since been working on my master’s degree in occupational therapy. I have been the student rep for MOTA since 2018, and have loved being part of this board and organization. Unfortunately, my term as student rep will come to an end in December. Although I am sad about my term ending, I am excited about starting my level two fieldworks, starting my career, and getting married all in 2021! 

I decided to become the student rep in 2018 because I wanted to learn more about OT and the profession outside of the classroom. Within my two years of being on the board, I have learned so much that has only added to my academic education. I have been able to work alongside my professors and other great OTs, advocate for the profession in Annapolis, MD, listen and learn from AOTA board members, help plan and run out annual conference, and listen to great seminars and presentations from OTs around Maryland. I believe that everything I have learned in these two years, in addition to my academic education, has only benefitted me for my upcoming career as an OT. 

The MOTA board is looking for another OT or OTA student to take over my position, starting in January 2021. Have faith when I say that joining the MOTA board and organization will only better you, your education, and future career as an OT/OTA. If anyone would like any more information about joining the MOTA board, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at mmerri5@students.towson.edu. Otherwise, please send us an email at all4mota@gmail.com for more information about how you can apply. 

District Survey

We are considering re-implementing districts and district representatives within MOTA to increase leadership and networking opportunities.  In the past, districts have delivered continuing education, networking opportunities, membership recruitment, and outreach on the community level. We are trying to determine the needs and interests of our members. We value your feedback!

Please help us plan by taking this quick District Survey.

Public Policy Partners COVID-19 Resources Occupational Therapy Update

We are pleased to share this helpful resource from MOTA’s lobbyists. To help navigate the information stream coming from all levels of government and the private sector in response to COVID-19, Public Policy Partners has collected and shared information and resources that may benefit practitioners and Marylanders. Please see these comprehensive resources and the occupational therapy specific information below. 

  1. Telehealth
    1. All healthcare professionals can use synchronous or asynchronous tele-therapy technology for NEW and EXISTING patients under specific regulations
      1. The practitioner is licensed in Maryland
      2. The practitioner is working under a facility that was authorized through the Governor’s Executive Order 
    2. Medicaid Reimbursement: covers broad telecommunication including audio only phone calls
      1. Patients are allowed to be located in their homes
      2. Somatic care may be completed through telephone services 
      3. IEP Services are reimbursable for tele-therapy
      4. Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) is now reimbursable for any somatic patient whose condition requires monitoring through RPM
    3. Private Insurance – State Regulated Plans: 
      1. Insurers must reimburse for telehealth services at the same rate as in-person services
      2. Telehealth DOES NOT include audio-only or telephone-only calls
    4. Medicare: Now expanded to include patients in their homes
      1. Telehealth Visit: NOT allowed for Occupational Therapists!!!
      2. E-Visits: synchronous or asynchronous communications for established patients only and covers occupational therapy
  2. Licensure
    1. Out of State Practitioners:
      1. A practitioner who holds a license from a state other than Maryland is allowed to practice (in-person and telehealth) as long as they are working for a hospital or related institution approved by the Secretary
    2. Inactive Licenses:
      1. Allows health facilities (as defined in the Executive Order) to employ health professionals with inactive state licenses
    3. Scope of Practice:
      1. The Executive Order allows health professionals to practice outside of their scope of practice as long as it can be done safely in a facility
  3. Health Insurance
    1. The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange is open until June 15, 2020 for currently uninsured or newly uninsured Maryland residents

Updated By: Alysse Zaffos, Robyn Elliott, Rachael Faulkner, and Sonia Lawson on 4/13/2020

COVID-19 Continuing Education Opportunities

AOTA is hosting a series of free virtual CE programs to equip occupational therapy practitioners, educators, and students to navigate through the evolving coronavirus pandemic. This series is free for AOTA members and non-members. Earn from 1 to 1.5 contact hours per session.

The American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM) is hosting live webinars with experts from the Tele-Medicine industry to provide clear and up-to-date information regarding telemedicine and remote monitoring in the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation during the COVID-19 crisis.

CMS Decision Allows Occupational Therapists to Open Medicare Home Health Cases

Via AOTA: A decision by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to allow occupational therapists the ability to conduct initial and comprehensive assessments for Medicare home health cases is being celebrated by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).

“We are pleased that CMS has recognized occupational therapy’s vital role in home health and AOTA’s advocacy efforts on this topic,” said Sherry Keramidas, PhD, FASAE, CAE, Executive Director of AOTA. “Access to occupational therapy services is more important than ever as occupational therapy practitioners are helping clients to navigate COVID-19 related challenges of occupational deprivation, participation in daily living, using occupation to support mental wellness, and re-engaging in occupations while recovering from COVID-19.”

The CMS decision has a retroactive effective date of March 1, 2020, through the end of the emergency declaration.

COVID-19 Update and Resources

MOTA recognizes the impact from the Covid-19 pandemic on occupational therapy practitioners, educators and students as we adapt to these uncertain times. Occupational Therapy practitioners across the state of Maryland have all been challenged to remain healthy and ensure safe practices to prevent further community spread. 

In the past weeks, various executive orders that impact professional practice, including related guidance and resources, have been disseminated at the federal, state, and local level. MOTA would like to provide you with a means to access those resources in efforts to help you stay safe, as well as continue providing services, if applicable. Below are resources that have been complied to help you find professional guidance to stay safe and remain abreast of developments during this time.

Please know guidelines and recommendations are fluid and changing almost daily, therefore it is recommended that you revisit the respective resources frequently for updates. All resources below are current as of April 13, 2020.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The CDC has released multiple resources promoting precautionary measures and proper hygiene.      

The American Occupational Therapy Association

Information pertaining to Occupational Therapy in the Era of Coronavirus (COVID-19) will be continuously updated as resources become available. Information includes OT and Telehealth, CMS guidelines to providers, and Provision of Special Education, Early Intervention, and 504 Services during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Maryland Board of Occupational Therapy Practice   
Read the Board’s position statement on occupational therapists’ use of telehealth to provide occupational therapy services. Our Practice Act and COMAR Regulations may be found on the same page.
 
The staff of the Maryland Board of Occupational Therapy is currently teleworking. You may reach the board via email mdotboard.user@maryland.gov or lauren.murray@maryland.gov
 
Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Executive order regarding health care matters

Telehealth: Services Delivery Executive Order

On March 20, 2020, Governor Hogan issued an Executive Order to authorize the reimbursement of audio-only health care services and to grant further flexibility regarding the use of HIPAA-compliant telehealth technology during the state of emergency. Details may be found online (scroll to Authorizing Telehealth, dated April 1). 

School Based Practice

The U.S. Department of Education through collaboration and coordination with state and local educational agencies have disseminated critical information and resources for guidance in school settings. Resources, webinars, and fact sheets can be found online. 

The U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) has released a series of fact sheets to provide specific guidance for how schools may conduct virtual education to students for an extended period of time.

The Maryland State Department of Education is working collaboratively with the Governor’s Office, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) on the health and safety of students and staff in the school setting. Information can be found online here.

Maryland Board of Occupational Therapy Practice: Nominations Accepted until 3/20/20

Daniel Martin’s term on the Board of OT Practice ends this coming June 30th. The Maryland Department of Health requests that the Maryland Occupational Therapy Association (MOTA) submit a list of nominees no later than March 20, 2020. Parties who are interested in appointment to the Board of OT Practice should:

  • email MOTA at all4MOTA@gmail.com to request consideration for the position AND
  • complete the Governor’s Appointment Office online application (which must include their resume).