PT, OT, and SLP are Considered Critical Infrastructure
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security agency (CISA) is a part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). According to CISA: “CISA is responsible for protecting the Nation’s critical infrastructure from physical and cyber threats. This mission requires effective coordination and collaboration among a broad spectrum of government and private sector organizations.”
One task of this agency is to identify “critical infrastructure” that is deemed important enough to be a priority to be kept running in times of national emergency.
You may be thinking of infrastructure like roads and bridges but in this case, they are referring to key and core workers. On March 19, 2020, CISA issued a memo in an effort to delineate which professionals fall into this category.
Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, and Speech Langauge Pathologists are specifically notes in the document.
Here is a portion of the memo where the general idea is provided:
Here is a portion where PT, OT, and SLPs are named specifically:
As the document itself points out, this list is not binding but it is meant, as per above, to give state and local officials guidance as they make decisions at their level. That means there could be a very real implication at your more local level. Here is where that is described.
The Bottom Line
Things continue to evolve at a rapid pace. While the practical impacts of being named as part of critical infrastructure may not be 100% clear, it is a clear recognition of the importance that PTs, OTs, and SLPs play in a patient’s well-being and health.