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  • Foundation Receives Major Donation from Paris, Laureate Education

    When he's not attempting to sail around the world, Stanley Paris, PT, PhD, FAPTA, FAAOMPT, is busy making a world of difference—this time, by donating $500,000 to the Foundation for Physical Therapy (Foundation). The donation, made with his wife Catherine Patla, was matched by Laureate Education Inc to bring the total Foundation contribution to $1 million.

    The gifts, announced during the Foundation’s 35th Anniversary Gala in Charlotte, North Carolina, were made to help kickstart the next wave of research to transform the physical therapy profession, and are targeted to support research on the long-term outcomes of physical therapy.

    "As a profession, our skills in restoring, maintaining and enhancing the physical functioning of the individual are not adequately recognized and integrated into treatment options," stated Paris in a Foundation news release (.pdf). "I believe our gifts will contribute to research and analysis of data in health care outcomes that demonstrate the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of physical therapy as a treatment option, compared with medical and surgical care, in such areas as hip, knee, and spinal complaints."

    During his career, Paris has been involved in research, clinical practice, and teaching. He has published more than 40 articles in physical therapy, medical, and osteopathic journals, as well as a book, The Spinal Lesion. He is the recipient of several honors and awards, including the World Confederation for Physical Therapy’s (WCPT) 2011 Mildred Elson Award, WCPT’s top honor in physical therapy.

    Paris is also an avid sailor, and late last year put his skill in service of the Foundation by attempting to sail around the world solo to raise awareness and funds for physical therapy research. Ultimately, equipment failures forced Paris to cut the trip short, but his adventures helped to highlight the aims of the Foundation. Paris recently announced that he will be making a second attempt in November.

    Laureate Education Inc is a global higher education provider for health sciences and is a new owner of the University of St Augustine for Health Sciences, which was founded by Paris.

    "We are extremely pleased to accept these 2 generous gifts," said Foundation Board of Trustees President William G. Boissonnault, PT, DPT, DHSc, FAPTA, FAAOMPT. "Once again, Stanley has shown himself to be a true friend of the Foundation. He continues to go above and beyond in helping to support our mission. These funds will be critical in our efforts to advance evidenced-based literature, the key to helping physical therapists improve the quality of life for so many Americans."

    Medicare's Newest Fraud Prevention Tool is Paying Off

    The use of predictive analytics—the same kind of technology credit card companies use to spot questionable spending activities—has enabled the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to recover or prevent more than $210 million in improper payments in 2013. The savings are nearly double the amount identified during the previous year using the system, according to a report issued in June (.pdf).

    According to CMS, the "predictive algorithms and other sophisticated analytics" that are now run nationwide against all Medicare fee-for-service claims are doing a good job of identifying fraudulent billing before payment is made. The process, called the Fraud Prevention System (FPS), is helping to move the agency away from heavy reliance on the "pay and chase" model that has met with mixed success.

    The technology is analogous to the processes used by credit card companies to identify potential fraud. CMS monitors which Medicare identification numbers are used and by who (similar to tracking credit card charges made in one location when the cardholder lives far away from the place of purchase), billing frequency that is outside the norms (similar to flagging excessive credit card charges made in a short amount of time), patterns of billing (similar to credit card charges that echo patterns of known bad actors), and links between a provider and other known bad actors (similar to monitoring certain addresses for credit card charges).

    CMS adopted the technology in 2011 as required by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. In its first full year of operation, the system produced a 3:1 return on investment. Last year, that ratio jumped to 5:1.

    "The majority of health care providers enrolled in Medicare are honest, reliable business partners," CMS states in the report. "The FPS, as currently implemented, is not designed to flag transactions from this sort of provider; rather, the FPS is geared towards discovering egregiously improper patterns of billing–often amounting to fraud."

    APTA is helping physical therapists (PTs) understand regulations and payment systems through its Integrity in Practice campaign that puts them in touch with tools and resources to promote evidence-based practice, ethics, and professionalism.

    Check out the latest addition to the Integrity in Practice webpage: Preventing Fraud, Abuse, and Waste: A Primer for Physical Therapists (.pdf) is a free guide that examines not only the laws around these issues but the ways in which PTs can avoid fraud, abuse, and waste with payers, referral sources, and patients.