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  • MedPAC Weighs Options for Outpatient Therapy Reform

    Yesterday at the March meeting of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), APTA provided comments on the value of physical therapy, support for short- and long-term payment reform, and an update on the associations' work on the severity/intensity model.

    Among its agenda items, MedPAC discussed outpatient therapy services and the mandated report it is required to deliver to Congress by June 15, 2013, as authorized by the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. The law specifically charges MedPAC with creating recommendations on how to reform payment under Medicare Part B and to examine private sector initiatives as they relate to outpatient therapy services.

    In its discussion, MedPAC considered background on therapy services and providers under Medicare, current trends in spending for outpatient therapy services, and concerns about payment policies regarding therapy services—such as the variety of settings in which therapy is provided under Medicare Part B, the growth in volume of therapy services, and variances in spending by setting and region. Commissioners also voiced concern over using diagnosis as an indicator of therapy need.  

    MedPAC provided 4 options for the commissioners to consider: (1) major systems reform; (2) tighter coding (short-term reform); (3) improved management of the benefit; and (4) benefit refinement and improvement.

    APTA will work with MedPAC in the coming months as it examines ways to reform the Part B outpatient therapy benefit and prepares its recommendations to Congress.       

    Highmark Medicare Services Inc Becomes Novitas Solutions Inc

    Physical therapists in Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and the District of Columbia should be aware of a name change for the Part A and Part B Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) for Jurisdiction 12 (J12).

    In January, Diversified Service Options Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc, acquired MAC Highmark Medicare Services (HMS) from its parent company, Highmark Inc. As a result, HMS changed its name to Novitas Solutions Inc.

    Effective March 10, Novitas Solutions will begin to migrate the current HMS Web site to the new Novitas Solutions Web site, www.novitas-solutions.com. Novitas is targeting completing the name change to all active Web page content by March 30. Although main headers throughout the Web site will be changed, some historical documents, such as Medicare reports issued under HMS, will not be changed to reflect the new name.

    For users who have bookmarked pages throughout the HMS Web site, an automatic redirect process will send page requests to the correct new Web page. The company recommends that users update the bookmark after being redirected to the new Web page. 

    2012 Federal Advocacy Forum Registration Deadline Is March 20

    Time is running out to register for APTA's 2012 Federal Advocacy Forum. Join your colleagues April 22-24 to hear from decision makers on Capitol Hill, learn to effectively communicate with elected officials, receive an update on the legislative and regulatory issues affecting the physical therapy profession, and lobby members of Congress on behalf of the profession.  

    Programming for the 2012 Federal Advocacy Forum will begin April 22. The following day will be dedicated to preparation for Capitol Hill visits. The event will conclude with participants meeting with members of Congress on April 24. 

    The number of CEUs earned for this event is pending. In order to claim CEU credit, participants must attend the live event and complete the online posttest with at least 70% accuracy. The online posttest will be available on APTA's Learning Center by April 24.

    For a full agenda and more information about this event, visit www.apta.org/FederalForum. APTA encourages members to get the word out to friends and colleagues and bring someone along to this important advocacy event.

    This year's Federal Advocacy Forum will be held in conjunction with a larger event, APTA's 2012 Leadership Forum: Advocate, Govern, Lead, which integrates APTA's Board of Directors meeting, the Leadership Symposium for New Component President and Executive Teams, and the Federal Advocacy Forum. Participation at other events is not required to attend the Federal Advocacy Forum. Contact advocacy@apta.org for questions regarding this event.