WOTA Newsletter: December 2020

Included in this issue:
President Update  |  COVID Vaccine  |  Telehealth  |  Industrial Rehab  |  Hike The Hill  |  Membership Committee  |  Mental Health CoP  |  January WOTA Meetings
President Update

As we are approaching the end of 2020 many of us reflect on the year and plan for the upcoming year. Common themes I’m noticing is excitement (the end of a horrendous year), fear (do I get to read the terms and conditions of 2021 first?), and planning for the gradual change back to “normal”. As one friend on social media put it, the roaring 20s came right after the 1918 flu. There is cautious optimism and relief as my friends on Facebook working in hospitals post about receiving the vaccine. 

As occupational therapy practitioners we know change is hard. Even good change. 

As you reflect on the past year I encourage you to reflect on any positives and recall what you used to like to do that you can’t currently. An activity checklist for pre-covid. I used to enjoy taking my kids to story time and the playground and to get together with my cousins to watch sports. I want to continue my post-covid activities of baking bread and having less on my calendar. I also started taking my daughter to the skate park with her scooter and would like to sign her up for lessons (which may exist already but at three she’s not an effective mask wearer for long so that’s still out of reach). What activities did you previously participate in, what are you doing now, and what would you like to participate in in the future. Your goals may be to return to something or to start something new. 

As you plan for the new year, plan for continuing a long road (plan for the worst and expect the best) as vaccines are rolled out slowly, and remember to celebrate minor victories.

– Kyrstin Szewczyk, WOTA President

COVID Vaccine Information

New information has come out through this website (I would suggest bookmarking it for updated information). Vaccine Information :: Washington State Department of Health.

Please review the website for information for yourself, as any information we provide is an interpretation and was reviewed mid December and may change. 

Information we found included that vaccines will first be distributed to those in the Phase 1A group. If you are working with patients/clients within 6 feet, and can’t provide telehealth, it appears you would be included in this initial group. One suggestion is to have employers write a letter for the workers 1a eligibility status so the vaccine administration site doesn’t have to have the burden to prioritize. 

Employers can help prepare for vaccine distribution by:

1.   Thinking about your employees: How many will be in each priority group? Where can employees get vaccinated? How will you help communicate that information to them? Will you provide time off to get vaccinated?

2.   Enrolling as a vaccine provider if you are eligible. More information about eligibility and how to enroll can be found here.

3.   Amplifying and sharing information from DOH about the vaccine.

4.   Encouraging your employees to get a flu shot to reduce stress on the healthcare system. Communications tools for employers are available here.

New Telehealth Requirement

Beginning January 1, 2021 health care professionals (excluding physicians) offering telemedicine services to patients are required to complete telemedicine training.

Below is a policy statement filed by the Department of Health with additional information related to this requirement:


To learn more about the different training options available and access additional resources, please visit the Washington State Telehealth Collaborative Training page.

To complete the free and publicly available telemedicine training, please click enroll and create a Canvas account to access the Washington State Medical Professional Telemedicine Training.

Changes Coming to Industrial Rehabilitation

The Work Rehabilitation Guidelines Subcommittee of the Physical Medicine Best Practices Stakeholder Group from the Washington Department of Labor & Industries has created the “Work Rehabilitation Guidelines” document to present to the Stakeholder Group and the public for questions and commentary before finalizing. This document outlines clearer structure and increased use of evidence-base for treatment within the Work Hardening and Work Conditioning programs.

To hear more about the upcoming changes to Work Hardening and Work Conditioning, register for one of the WA L&I Town Hall Meetings below:

– Thursday, January 14, 2021, 8:30 am – 10:00 am:  https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_lieM1AcqSqifI5za_xIssQ

– Tuesday, January 19, 2021, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm:  https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_rUa68AGfROaMJ7VLUj5PzQ

If you have difficulty with the link, you may copy and paste it into a browser to register.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. SAVE THAT EMAIL! IT IS UNIQUE TO YOU!

If you are unable to attend one of these sessions we will be scheduling more monthly, and all of the webinars will be recorded and made available after the event.

We look forward to continuing to provide best practices for injured workers and to provide support for the community.
– Josh Cobbley, OT, L&I Liaison for WOTA
– Teri Jo Lientz, PT, L&I Liaison for APTA-WA

WOTA Hike The Hill 2021
Membership Committee

WOTA Membership Committee would like to invite YOU to volunteer on the committee to help recruit student members and start the mentorship program. Commitment involves attending a 45-minute Zoom meeting 4-6 times per year and monthly email communications.

Next Meeting is January 12th, 8p-9p

Reach out to Amy Jennings, Committee Chair, to volunteer or get more information!

Mental Health CoP

There is growing interest and participation in our MH CoP!

Beginning January 5, 2021 we will be offering monthly meetings on the 1st Tuesday from 7-8 pm.

This first meeting will be a time to re-group and welcome new OT practitioners and students. How we format subsequent meetings, i.e. guest facilitators, educational topics, is open to exploring.  I look forward to renewed opportunities to share our perspectives, skill sets and supportive compassion.

Please contact Elaine Masasrik-Williams if you’d like to get on the MH CoP e-mail list: themws@isomedia.com  

January 2021 WOTA Meetings
January 5th Mental Health CoP 7p-8p
January 6th Legislative Committee 7p-8p
January 7th Pediatrics CoP 7p-8p

January 12th Membership Committee 8p-9p
January 13th Continuing Education Committee 7p-8p
January 14th Entrepreneurship CoP 7p-8p

January 20th Executive Board 7p-8p
January 21st Rehabilitation CoP 7p-8p

January 28th Students CoP 7p-8p

President, Kyrstin Szewczyk
Newsletter Editor, Olivia Willingham
Executive Director, Roman Nugen
Copyright © 2020, WOTA, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Washington Occupational Therapy Association
1402 Auburn Way N., #236
Auburn, WA 98002

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