The influential Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) has released what it calls a new "roadmap" for the future of health care, and a high level of consumer control is one of the primary destinations.
The newest WEDI report (.pdf) comes 20 years after its initial examination of the use of technology in health care. The 1993 report played an influential role in the development of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) as well as the transition to standardized transaction formats in payment.
The newest report focuses on 4 major areas: patient engagement, payment models, data harmonization and exchange, and "innovative encounter models." Although approaches and priorities differ in each area, the WEDI report emphasizes the need for greater coordination of technologies, both to make information-sharing more efficient and to provide consumers with a high degree of control over their own care and information.
"Health IT is not the cure in and of itself but, when adequately deployed, can serve as a powerful change agent," the report states. "The rise of mobile and other technologies creates many opportunities for the healthcare industry to move forward together to solve many of the challenges that have plagued the American healthcare system."
APTA members now have access to detailed information on how the 2014 Medicare physician fee schedule and the hospital outpatient prospective payment system (OPPS) will affect physical therapist practice. APTA staff has prepared analyses of the final rules that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced on November 27.
APTA’s fee schedule summary (.pdf) covers the new schedule's impact on payment, including the impact of the sustainable growth rate (SGR) and therapy cap. The summary also includes an analysis of the proposed changes to the physician quality reporting system (PQRS).
The OPPS highlights (.pdf) document also addresses payment changes and provides analyses of the final Ambulatory Payment Classifications (APCs) as well as new rules around supervision of outpatient therapeutic services in critical access hospitals (CAHs).
Both resources are free to APTA members, and have been added to the physician fee schedule and Medicare in hospital settings information on the APTA website.
The 2014 Slate of Candidates for APTA national office is now available on the APTA website. It also may be found in the House of Delegates Community documents under "Nominations, Candidacy, and Elections." The candidate webpage, including candidate statements, will be posted on January 31, 2014. Elections for national office will be held at the 2014 House of Delegates on June 9, 2014. Please contact Amber Neil in APTA's Governance and Leadership Department for additional information.
When it comes to marketing your physical therapist practice, don't get so caught up in all the new delivery methods that you forget the basics of knowing your audience, understanding yourself, and figuring out how you'll know when you've succeeded. That's 1 of the guiding principles of a special feature on "Marketing and Public Relations for the Physical Therapist" in the latest issue of PT In Motion, APTA's member magazine.
In the article, APTA Director of Marketing and Creative Services Chanté Sedwick and Senior Public Relations Specialist Jennifer Rondon provide both big-picture considerations and practical tips on how to approach the sometimes-dizzying array of marketing options available. According to the authors, no single approach should be ruled out: social media is hot right now, but seemingly old-fashioned direct mail campaigns are still at least scanned by 78% of recipients.
Sedwick and Rondon warn against rushing into any marketing or public relations effort without first taking the time to assess who the physical therapist (PT) wants to reach and the specific values that differentiate the PT from other providers—and, possibly, other physical therapist practices. While possibly not as exciting as diving into a Facebook-fueled ad campaign, developing a few basic operating assumptions can save time and money, and generate results. The authors offer several tips on how to get started on the process and move on to an overview of delivery methods.
PT in Motion is a monthly magazine focused on hot issues in physical therapy and health care. The magazine is free to APTA members, and available in both hardcopy and online formats.
Additional practical information on marketing your physical therapist practice and yourself can be found in APTA’s
Business Skills in Physical Therapy: Strategic Marketing, 2nd Ed
, a home-study course by Peter Kovacek, PT, DPT, MSA.
Physical therapists (PTs) can get the latest information on how the Jimmo v. Sibelius settlement agreement reached in US District Court will affect the services they provide under Medicare by joining in on a December 19 Medicare Learning Network conference call. Registration is open now, but spaces are likely to fill up quickly.
The agreement reached in January reinforces Medicare's policy that when skilled services are required to provide care to slow or prevent further deterioration, coverage cannot be denied because of the lack of potential for improvement. The agreement has particular relevance to home health agencies, skilled nursing facilities, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, and outpatient physical therapy providers.
The call will be held from 2:00 pm-3:00 pm, ET. Participation is limited, and continuing education credits may be available. To register, visit the MLN Connects Upcoming Calls webpage.
When is it safe to drive after an extremity injury? According to a recent article in the New York Times, even when the question is limited to a specific injury such as a broken wrist or sprained ankle, the considered answer from research boils down to a firm "it depends."
NYT reporter Jan Hoffman looked at recent studies of postoperative driving and interviewed several orthopedic surgeons to find out what firm guidelines existed relative to getting back on the road after an injury or surgery. While there were some constants—no driving with a brace on the right leg, no driving if the wrist or elbow is immobilized, for example—there were few hard-and-fast rules, and many complicating factors.
Some of these complicating factors include the kind of car being driven, individual driving habits, and lack of sleep due to pain. Additionally, Hoffman reported that surgeons are sensitive to the potential variations in recovery and often hesitate to make a specific recommendation for fear of legal repercussions should the patient get into an auto accident or aggravate the original injury by driving.
Editor's note: be sure to check out the comments on the article posted by readers, many of whom describe their own experiences with recovery after injury/surgery.
Low participation among physical therapists (PTs), physical therapist assistants (PTAs), and their supporters could diminish legislator interest in permanent repeals of the therapy cap and sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, which are set to be discussed in Congress. APTA urges its members to take any of the easy steps available to make their voices heard at this critical point in the process.
Though it only takes a few minutes to participate, only 1% of APTA members have joined the grassroots effort to date, and time is running out. The Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees will be discussing legislative framework for a permanent solution to the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula next week. During these committee meetings, legislators will also be reviewing Medicare extenders, like the therapy cap. It is essential that a full repeal of the cap is included in the SGR packages.
Now is the time to contact legislators. If you are tired of the yearly extension system, you can help put an end to this unstable and unpredictable practice by taking action now. If the voices of PTs aren't strong enough, physical therapy could get lost in the shuffle of SGR reform.
Everyone can get involved and help ensure patient access to outpatient therapy services for the long term by e-mailing their legislators. APTA members can use the Legislative Action Center and patients/non-members can use the Patient Action Center. You can also take action from your smart phone by downloading the free APTA Action app.
The latest episode of APTA's Move Forward Radio looks at chronic pain through 3 people who were part of a new Discovery Channel documentary on the subject and a physical therapist (PT) who treats chronic pain in his practice. APTA has also issued a press release on the episode.
The Move Forward Radio episode includes Iraq war veteran Derek McGinnis, as well as Melanie Rosenblatt, MD, and American Chronic Pain Association CEO Penney Cowan. Also featured is John Garzione, PT, DPT, president of the Orthopaedic Section’s Pain Management Special Interest Group, who discusses the role of physical therapy for chronic pain.
McGinnis, Rosenblatt, and Cowan were featured in Pain Matters, a documentary that features the stories of 6 individuals living with chronic pain, as well as the perspectives of several experts in pain management. The film can be viewed online and will be rerun on December 7 and 14 on the Discovery Channel.
Designed to be of interest to consumers, Move Forward Radio airs approximately twice a month. Episodes are featured and archived at MoveForwardPT.com, APTA's official consumer information website, and can be streamed online via Blog Talk Radio or downloaded as podcasts via iTunes.
Feedback on a past episode? Great idea for a future episode? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
After more than 2 years of work by APTA and the Maryland Chapter, the fee schedule for Maryland's Medicaid program has been expanded to include additional procedure codes directly related to physical therapy.
The additional CPT codes went into effect on December 1 for the Maryland Medical Assistance Program (MMA) and include a range of codes that more appropriately describe the services provided by physical therapists (PTs). Previously, the program's fee schedule was limited to 4 codes: PT evaluation, therapeutic exercise, unlisted therapeutic procedure, and manual therapy. APTA and the Maryland Chapter voiced concerns over the limitations of the codes.
The added codes will strengthen increased patient access to physical therapy services achieved through the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The new fee schedule can be found in the MMA provider manual (.pdf). Editor's note: some users may have to click "cancel" and "ok" to access the document.
APTA added 3 companies to its Strategic Business Partners 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. The new partners are:
Healthcare Providers Service Organization (HPSO), a division of Aon Affinity. HPSO and APTA have provided a variety of risk management resources to physical therapists (PTs), including claim report, a service that delivers 10 years of comprehensive professional liability and licensing protection claims data and trends.
Hocoma USA, Inc., a Swiss medical technology company that provides robotic rehabilitation therapy to support patients with neurological diseases and injuries as well as those with low back pain. Products include Lokomat® for locomotion therapy, Armeo® for upper extremities, Erigo® for early rehabilitation and mobilization, and Valedo® for low back pain functional movement.
Parker Laboratories, a manufacturer and marketer of ultrasound and electrormedical accessories and supplies. Parker Laboratories products include Aquasonic® 100 Ultrasound Transmission Gel, Protex™ Cleaner/Disinfectant for athletic training rooms, and Thermosonic® Gel Warmer.
APTA issued press releases for HPSO, Hocoma, and Parker Laboratories as the partnerships were announced. For further information on the APTA Strategic Business Partner program, please visit the Strategic Business Partners webpage.
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