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  • CSM Prints and Digital Downloads Now Available

    Save yourself thousands in words—grab a picture or two from the 2014 Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) photo gallery now posted for download.

    Visit www.davidbraun.photoreflect.com and select "APTA-CSM-2014" under "Recent Photos." Enter the password quadriceps. Click on the photo group you want to view and purchase images or downloads through the shopping cart.

    Questions? Contact photographer David Braun at info@davidbraun.com.

    HHS Improves Access to Benefit Plan Information in Marketplaces

    Physical therapists (PTs) hoping for a little more light to be shed on the details of health plans available through state health insurance marketplaces can take heart: the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) may have just what they need.

    Recently HHS launched a new website with state-by-state charts that include copayment and other benefit information for the health plans available in states that did not set up their own exchanges. Many providers had complained about inadequacy of earlier information from HHS.

    The site lists the plans for each state alphabetically. Scrolling to the right of the list reveals copayments next to each plan and plan level. This data is only for plans offered in the marketplaces and could take time to extract, but it does represent an improvement over previous information.

    APTA reminder: for current patients or for those awaiting evaluation, it's always best to verify an enrollee’s benefit with the payer.

    CMS: ICD-10 Will Be Implemented on October 1

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will be sticking to its October 1, 2014, date for implementation of the new International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition (ICD-10) codes, with no rollback of compliance dates and only limited "hardship exemptions" from the requirement. The announcement puts new emphasis on the importance of the new system's Medicare testing week set for March 3-7.

    The announcement was made by CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner during remarks at a meeting on February 27. Modern Healthcare quoted Tavernner as saying "Let's face it guys, we've delayed this several times, and it's time to move on."

    The ICD-10 codes will replace the ICD-9 codes used to report diagnoses and inpatient procedures. The changes will affect all entities and providers covered by the Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act (HIPAA), and are a key component in reimbursement, quality, utilization review, and other data management activities.

    To prepare for the change CMS has requested all Medicare administrative contractors (MACs) to participate in a week of testing the new codes, March 3 – 7. Registration information was forwarded to providers by all MACs earlier this month, and registration is required to participate in the testing week. APTA encourages all physical therapist practices and facilities to register and participate in the testing week. Although no dates have been released, CMS indicated in a webinar last week that there will likely be future testing dates for providers who are not yet ready to test ICD-10 claims.

    APTA has been helping physical therapists (PTs) prepare for the shift by creating resources that explain the new system and its impacts. Additionally, the association hosted a webinar on the move to ICD-10 in December, and will host another on March 27. A recording of the December presentation is available for download. Access to the live version of the March 27 webinar is on a space-available basis, and a recording of the webinar should be available approximately 1 week after the event.