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  • APTA Launches Guide to Electronic Health Records

    APTA's new Guide to Understanding and Adopting Electronic Health Records (EHR) aims to help physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) assess and implement EHRs.

    Although PTs are not yet required or incentivized to adopt EHR systems for such initiatives as Medicare's Meaningful Use Program, which in 2015 will penalize eligible providers who do not meet the requirements for "meaningful use," physicians and facilities that are included in the program will expect PTs and PTAs with whom they share patients to use compatible EHR systems.

    The guide takes users through 4 steps:   

    • Part 1 – Decision: This section provides background information on why there is a push to adopt EHR and a brief introduction to the federal issues that impact physical therapist practice.
    • Part 2 – Preparation: This section provides basic information on what PTs and PTAs will need to understand for successful adoption of an EHR system, including what constitutes an EHR and provides suggestions to help consider your current environment and workflow.
    • Part 3 – Selection: This section will expand the user's knowledge about the available types of EHR software and hardware, and also provides considerations for choosing the right partner.
    • Part 4 – Implementation: This section shows how successful implementation makes a smooth transition when adopting an EHR. An organized approach and clear communication with all members of a facility's staff is described and suggestions for implementation are provided.

    Kaiser Updates Online Database of Medicaid Benefits in the 50 States

    The Kaiser Family Foundation's Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured has updated its Medicaid Benefits Online Database to include 2010 state-level data about which benefits are covered by Medicaid programs in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and United States territories. The online tool contains Medicaid benefits data for adults covered under fee-for-service, with information about benefits covered, limits, copayments, and reimbursement methodologies. Other years for which data are available include 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2008. The tool allows users to access detailed profiles of which benefits are covered in a given state's Medicaid program, and also to see how a particular benefit is covered across all states.

    Categories of acute care benefits tracked in the database include institutional and clinic services, practitioner services, prescription drugs, physical therapy, transportation services, and more. In long-term care, the database tracks community-based care and institutional care.

    Users should note that this is 2010 data, and in the current fiscal environment states are evaluating and revising Medicaid benefits on an ongoing basis.  States' Medicaid agency portals will provide the most current information on Medicaid benefits, so be sure to also check your state Medicaid Web site.

    Registration Open for Health Care Reform Audio Conference

    A March 22 audio conference will examine the monumental challenges and opportunities that health care reform will bring in 2012. Join Justin Moore, PT, DPT, vice president of APTA Public Policy, Practice and Professional Affairs, and discover how clinicians, business owners, rehabilitation managers, and patients can prepare to successfully navigate the rapid changes, and get a bird's eye view of policy provisions specific to rehabilitation—including reforming payments, health care delivery, and the workforce.

    In addition to examining how health reform initiatives address fee schedule updates, therapy caps, bundled payments for post-acute care, integrated delivery systems, prevention and wellness, and insurance reforms, Moore will focus on contemporary issues surrounding the upcoming Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of the law, the pressures on states to implement key provisions, and efforts in Congress to repeal, revise, and redirect funding related to the Affordable Care Act.

    The audio conference will be held 2 pm-3:30 EST March 22. Online registration closes 11:00 pm ET March 19, or as soon as all available spaces are filled. 

    APTA Names Performance Health, Bioness Inc Strategic Business Partners

    APTA recently added 2 companies to its Strategic Business Partner 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.

    Performance Health, based in Akron, Ohio, is the maker of Thera-Band®, Biofreeze®, and Pedigenix™ products. As a Charter partner the company is entitled to varied promotional opportunities that give APTA added visibility to Performance Health customers.

    As part of the strategic partnership, Performance Health is offering free membership for APTA members in the company's newly upgraded Thera-Band® Academy Web site. More information on this offer is available in APTA's press release.

    Bioness Inc, is a manufacturer and marketer of innovative neuromodulation products that help individuals with central nervous system disorders regain movement in affected limbs. Its NESS L300® Foot Drop System, NESS H200® Hand Rehabilitation System, and NESS L300® Plus System, cleared for use by the Food and Drug Administration, are designed to help patients achieve new levels of physical independence and productivity.