APTA's new Guide to Understanding and Adopting Electronic Health Records (EHR) aims to help physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) assess and implement EHRs.
Although PTs are not yet required or incentivized to adopt EHR systems for such initiatives as Medicare's Meaningful Use Program, which in 2015 will penalize eligible providers who do not meet the requirements for "meaningful use," physicians and facilities that are included in the program will expect PTs and PTAs with whom they share patients to use compatible EHR systems.
The guide takes users through 4 steps:
The Kaiser Family Foundation's Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured has updated its Medicaid Benefits Online Database to include 2010 state-level data about which benefits are covered by Medicaid programs in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and United States territories. The online tool contains Medicaid benefits data for adults covered under fee-for-service, with information about benefits covered, limits, copayments, and reimbursement methodologies. Other years for which data are available include 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2008. The tool allows users to access detailed profiles of which benefits are covered in a given state's Medicaid program, and also to see how a particular benefit is covered across all states.
Categories of acute care benefits tracked in the database include institutional and clinic services, practitioner services, prescription drugs, physical therapy, transportation services, and more. In long-term care, the database tracks community-based care and institutional care.
Users should note that this is 2010 data, and in the current fiscal environment states are evaluating and revising Medicaid benefits on an ongoing basis. States' Medicaid agency portals will provide the most current information on Medicaid benefits, so be sure to also check your state Medicaid Web site.
A March 22 audio conference will examine the monumental challenges and opportunities that health care reform will bring in 2012. Join Justin Moore, PT, DPT, vice president of APTA Public Policy, Practice and Professional Affairs, and discover how clinicians, business owners, rehabilitation managers, and patients can prepare to successfully navigate the rapid changes, and get a bird's eye view of policy provisions specific to rehabilitation—including reforming payments, health care delivery, and the workforce.
In addition to examining how health reform initiatives address fee schedule updates, therapy caps, bundled payments for post-acute care, integrated delivery systems, prevention and wellness, and insurance reforms, Moore will focus on contemporary issues surrounding the upcoming Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of the law, the pressures on states to implement key provisions, and efforts in Congress to repeal, revise, and redirect funding related to the Affordable Care Act.
The audio conference will be held 2 pm-3:30 EST March 22. Online registration closes 11:00 pm ET March 19, or as soon as all available spaces are filled.
APTA recently added 2 companies to its Strategic Business Partner program. Through the program, APTA seeks to enhance business relationships and develop meaningful partnerships with for-profit companies by offering services and marketing opportunities that provide mutual benefits to partners and APTA.
Performance Health, based in Akron, Ohio, is the maker of Thera-Band®, Biofreeze®, and Pedigenix™ products. As a Charter partner the company is entitled to varied promotional opportunities that give APTA added visibility to Performance Health customers.
As part of the strategic partnership, Performance Health is offering free membership for APTA members in the company's newly upgraded Thera-Band® Academy Web site. More information on this offer is available in APTA's press release.
Bioness Inc, is a manufacturer and marketer of innovative neuromodulation products that help individuals with central nervous system disorders regain movement in affected limbs. Its NESS L300® Foot Drop System, NESS H200® Hand Rehabilitation System, and NESS L300® Plus System, cleared for use by the Food and Drug Administration, are designed to help patients achieve new levels of physical independence and productivity.
The 2-month fix extending the Medicare cap exceptions process that Congress passed December 23, 2011, will expire February 29. If Congress does not pass legislation before February 29 the therapy cap will go into effect without an exceptions process, and a scheduled 27.4% cut to provider payments under the Medicare physician fee schedule will be implemented March 1.
APTA is working with Congress to protect the physical therapy profession and its patients from these impending cuts. Help strengthen the association's efforts by contacting your legislators today to express your support for full repeal of the sustainable growth rate and the therapy cap. Urge your legislators to—at the very least—pass a 2-year extension of the therapy cap exceptions process as proposed in the original House bill, which saves money and creates a path to reform the therapy benefit in the long term.
In response to comments from APTA and other stakeholders, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has removed the 100% pre-payment review phase (formerly Phase 1) from the Prepayment Review and Prior Authorization for Power Mobility Devices demonstration. All modifications that had previously been made to Phase 1 are no longer necessary or applicable as a result of the removal this phase.
Also based on stakeholder feedback, CMS will allow suppliers to perform the administrative function of submitting the prior authorization request on behalf of the physician/treating practitioner.
The Prepayment Review and Prior Authorization for Power Mobility Devices and the Recovery Audit Prepayment Review demonstrations, which were delayed from their initial January 1 start date, are expected to move forward on or after June 1.
Additional information on these demonstrations can be found on CMS' Web site.
The Indian Health Service (IHS) currently is accepting applications for its Loan Repayment Program (LRP). This program offers health care professionals, including physical therapists, the opportunity to pay off qualified student loans to meet the staffing needs of Indian health programs. The awards are based on the needs of IHS and the available funding. There is an estimated $20 million available for the program during Fiscal Year 2012 to be awarded to more than 450 individuals.
Applications will be accepted and evaluated monthly beginning February 17 until funds are exhausted. For more information or to apply visit the LRP Web site.
APTA continues its public policy priority to include physical therapists in additional student loan repayment initiatives.