Tuesday, October 14, 2014 APTA, AOTA, ASHA Combine Voices to Speak Out for Providers' Clinical Judgment APTA, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASL) have come together to deliver the message that inappropriate administrative mandates, quotas, and productivity standards should never stand in the way of professional clinical judgment and knowledge of billing and reporting requirements. The 3 organizations have released a "Consensus Statement on Clinical Judgment in Health Care Settings (.pdf)" as part of a combined effort to highlight the central role of the clinician in a health care landscape that increasingly looks to patient-centered outcomes as the true measure of quality. "Respect for the therapist's clinical judgment and expertise is critical to achieving optimum patient/client care," according to the statement. "Overriding or ignoring clinical judgment through administrative mandates, employer pressure to meet quotas, or inappropriate productivity standards may be a violation of payer rules, may be in conflict with state licensure laws, and may even constitute fraud." The statement provides examples of unacceptable practices and reminders on the importance of knowing all rules and regulations, following proper evaluation and treatment protocols, and completing all documentation. Clinicians are encouraged to take action if they encounter a billing process that may be suspect and are provided with possible steps to take in response to employer policies or practices that conflict with clinical judgment. The partnership between APTA, AOTA, and ASHA is not new. The 3 organizations have worked together to produce guidelines on cotreatment and engage in advocacy around ending the therapy cap. “This is an important step both for APTA, its partner organizations, and the patients we serve,” said APTA President Paul A. Rockar Jr, PT, DPT, MS. “It provides further clarity and framework to help ensure appropriate treatment and it is just one of many steps APTA has taken to ensure patients are receiving the highest quality, most efficient care; care that is skillfully thought out and planned with the patient’s wants and needs at the forefront. This has long been a driving principle for our organization.” The statement on clinical judgment follows a charge made earlier this year by APTA’s House of Delegates (RC-16-14) for the association to identify and develop resources that equip physical therapists and physical therapist assistants in negotiations for conceptual frameworks of productivity and performance that ensure the provision of quality physical therapy care. This and other resources on clinical judgment contribute to APTA's Integrity in Practice Campaign, and can be found at the APTA Center for Integrity in Practice website. In addition to the consensus statement, the website's resources include information on the Choosing Wisely® list of "5 Things Physical Therapists and Patients Should Question;” a primer on preventing fraud, abuse, and waste; a free course on compliance; and other information on regulation and payment systems, evidence-based practice, ethics, professionalism, and fraud prevention.