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  • Humana Temporarily Ceases Overpayment Recovery

    The Humana health insurance corporation has put its overpayment recovery efforts on hold while it considers how it will implement its plan to apply the Multiple Procedure Payment Reduction (MPPR) policy. Prior to this announcement, the company was requiring physical therapists (PTs) to pay back portions of reimbursement that Humana claimed exceeded MPPR standards.

    Humana began applying the Multiple Procedure Payment Reduction (MPPR) policy on Medicare Advantage and commercial insurance plan payments for physical therapy in 2013, a change that resulted in payment reductions to PTs and overpayment recoveries. APTA staff has been in communication with Humana representatives to express concern over the way Humana implemented the policy. In a recent conference call with APTA staff, Humana representatives reported that the company is "no longer in recovery mode."

    Additionally, Humana representatives indicated that due to calculation errors, some recovery amounts were too high, and the company would refund PTs who experienced excessive recoveries. Additional discussions are expected regarding Humana’s future plans for policy implementation.

    APTA remains concerned about the administrative burden on providers subjected to MPPR through overpayment recovery instead of on initial payment and will continue to discuss this issue with Humana representatives. Your direct experiences and documentation can support this discussion: send an e-mail to advocacy@apta.org with your name, member ID, and contact information for staff follow-up.

    Brain-Controlled Exoskeleton Will Be Featured at World Cup

    A teenager who is paralyzed will use a mind-controlled robotic exoskeleton to stand, walk, and kick the first ball at the opening of the World Cup soccer tournament this June.

    The exoskeleton, which surrounds the lower body, is controlled by brain activity transmitted to electrodes that transmit wireless signals to a wearable computer that generates the exoskeleton's movements. The exoskeleton contains sensors that send important information about movement—such as force, rolling off the toe, and kicking off—back to the wearer, either through electronic vibrations or a visual monitor.

    Tentative plans for the debut were first reported in the Washington Post last spring. Since that time, plans have solidified and reports of an official debut are now circulating. A brief video on the project is also available on YouTube. The technology was developed by the Walk Again Project, a nonprofit collaborative centered at the Duke University Center of Neuroengineering.

    Learn more about how robotic devices are used in physical therapy: APTA offers podcasts that provide an overview and information on interventions, and the association's Learning Center offers a continuing education course that covers rehabilitation robots, technology differences, current uses, promising patient populations, evidence supporting the use of robotics, and other topics.