Yesterday at the March meeting of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), APTA provided comments on the value of physical therapy, support for short- and long-term payment reform, and an update on the associations' work on the severity/intensity model.
Among its agenda items, MedPAC discussed outpatient therapy services and the mandated report it is required to deliver to Congress by June 15, 2013, as authorized by the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. The law specifically charges MedPAC with creating recommendations on how to reform payment under Medicare Part B and to examine private sector initiatives as they relate to outpatient therapy services.
In its discussion, MedPAC considered background on therapy services and providers under Medicare, current trends in spending for outpatient therapy services, and concerns about payment policies regarding therapy services—such as the variety of settings in which therapy is provided under Medicare Part B, the growth in volume of therapy services, and variances in spending by setting and region. Commissioners also voiced concern over using diagnosis as an indicator of therapy need.
MedPAC provided 4 options for the commissioners to consider: (1) major systems reform; (2) tighter coding (short-term reform); (3) improved management of the benefit; and (4) benefit refinement and improvement.
APTA will work with MedPAC in the coming months as it examines ways to reform the Part B outpatient therapy benefit and prepares its recommendations to Congress.