Medicare Exempts PTs from DMEPOS Accreditation Process

ALEXANDRIA, VA, September 4, 2008 — Physical therapists and other health care professionals that provide durable medical equipment and prosthetic and orthotic services to Medicare beneficiaries will be exempt from the program's accreditation process and quality standard requirements, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Wednesday.

"This is a huge victory for patients and health care professionals across this nation," American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) President R Scott Ward, PT, PhD, said. "Physical therapists already provide care of the highest quality, so these unnecessary requirements would have been overly burdensome, costly and could have created obstacles for patients needing these services."

As originally proposed, physical therapists and other health care providers would have been required to meet certain quality standards and be accredited by an independent accreditation organization in order to bill for these services. The deadline for new suppliers was March 2008, while the deadline for existing suppliers was September 2009.

APTA worked with the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Podiatric Medical Association, the Medical Group Management Association, the American Occupational Therapy Association, and the American Optometric Association to convince CSM to eliminate the accreditation process.

Physical therapists are health care professionals who diagnose and manage individuals of all ages, from newborns to elders, who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. Physical therapists examine each individual and develop a plan of care using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. Physical therapists also work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.

APTA (www.apta.org) is a national organization representing physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students nationwide. Its goal is to foster advancements in physical therapist education, practice, and research. Consumers can visit www.findapt.us to find a physical therapist in their area, as well as www.apta.org/consumer for physical therapy news and information.

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