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  • Cracking the Code: 6 Resources to Help You Navigate the 2017 CPT Code Changes

    When it comes to the new CPT evaluation coding system set to start on January 1, 2017, 2 things are inarguable: 1, this is actually happening; and 2, navigating and even thriving in the new system will require physical therapists (PTs) to stay engaged, learn as much as they can, and actively participate in shaping the future of the codes and how they're applied.

    With that in mind, here are 6 worthwhile resources that can help you understand and prepare for the big change in coding.

    1. Cut to the chase with APTA's quick guide to the codes.
    Want the basics? Check out the easy-to-read guide available online (it was also shipped with the December-January issue of PT in Motion magazine). This is the bare-bones, bottom-line content you need to know right now, accompanied by a set of definitions that help clarify what the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services mean by terms such as "activity limitations" and "body systems."

    2. Dig deeper with a free 60-minute webinar.

    This recording of a September 22 webinar covers the basics and then some. APTA staff are joined by Kathleen Picard, PT, and Helene Fearon, PT, in an in-depth review of the new coding system, including a brief history of how the system came to be, and case vignettes that show the codes in action.

    3. Get another perspective—in just 30 minutes.

    APTA has partnered with CEU provider MedBridge to deliver an online course that explores the elements of an evaluation and what conditions must be met for each level of complexity, accompanied by practical, interactive examples to help you practice documentation and proper code selection.

    4. Learn on your schedule with this self-paced course.

    One of the newest offerings from APTA, this free slide deck with accompanying notes explains the basics, and then puts heavy emphasis on seeing the codes in action through case scenarios focused on cardiovascular and pulmonary, neurology, pediatrics, orthpedics, and geriatrics.

    5. Join the conversation on payment.

    APTA has launched an online community on the Hub focused solely on payment reform. Ask questions, exchange thoughts with other PTs, and get a better sense of how your peers across the country are responding to the changes—not just in CPT codes, but other areas.

    6. Mark your calendars for more learning coming early in 2017.
    The opportunities to get up-to-speed don't end in 2016. Viewers of the APTA webinar from September 22 (see #2 above) are invited to participate in a live Q-and-A session set for January 19, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm, ET. Fearon and Picard will once again join the APTA staff team to provide updates on the codes, and then answer participants’ questions (deadline is January 12 to submit questions).

    Also in the near future: PT in Motion magazine articles in 2017 on the new system. While PT in Motion did cover the CPT codes in a 2016 article, both the February and March “Compliance Matters” columns will include even more information.

    The CPT codes aren't the only moving part in the evolving payment scene. Make it easy on yourself to keep up with all the news related to payment for physical therapist services: sign up for the Payment edition of APTA's Friday Focus series, a monthly collection of the top payment-related stories from PT in Motion News, the latest APTA resources, and more learning opportunities.


    • This is really necessary I must say. Thanks so much for sharing and do have a wonderful weeks ahead

      Posted by Victor Noah -> CMYc<I on 12/23/2016 7:38 AM

    • This Webinar was helpful. Thank you . Can it be credited for CEUs?

      Posted by Peg McDermott on 1/2/2017 7:27 PM

    • Thanks for the question, Peg. Like other free courses offered by APTA, there are no CEUs associated with this offering.

      Posted by APTA Staff on 1/3/2017 2:21 PM

    • The better answer is to use technology to search the eval for complexities, categorize them properly, score them properly and recommend the defendable eval code. The therapist adds their clinical judgement and the 100 - 200 words of defensive documentation is automated. The entire process takes 30 seconds.

      Posted by Dan Alloway on 1/3/2017 7:15 PM

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