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  • Hawaii Becomes Final State to Require Regulation of PTAs

    In a move that also provides title protection for PTAs and the doctor of physical therapy degree (DPT), Hawaii Gov Neil Abercrombie signed a bill (SB 1074) yesterday requiring the licensure of physical therapist assistants (PTA) in the state. Passage of SB 1074 signifies another landmark moment for the physical therapy profession in that all 50 states and the District of Columbia now regulate physical therapist assistants.

    SB 1074, which was advocated for by the Hawaii Chapter of APTA (HAPTA), will promote patient safety and quality of care by ensuring that only individuals who have met specific criteria are licensed to act in the capacity of a physical therapist assistant. Prior to passage of SB 1074, Hawaii was the only state in the union that did not provide for the state regulation of PTAs.

    In addition to providing for the licensure of PTAs, the new law enacts a number of changes. It establishes title protection both for the regulatory designation “PTA” and for the doctor of physical therapy (DPT) educational degree. The legislation also provides for changes to the composition of the state physical therapy licensing board by eliminating the seat reserved for a physician and replacing it with a seat for a physical therapist assistant.

    See more in the full press release.

    CMS Proposed Home Health PPS for 2014 Cuts Payment 1.5%

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the proposed rule for the Home Health Prospective Payment System for calendar year 2014. The rule affects services provided by home health agencies under Medicare Part A beginning January 1, 2014. The proposed national, standardized 60-day episode payment for 2014 is $2,860.20. CMS projects that as a result Medicare payments to home health agencies in 2014 will be reduced by 1.5%, or $290 million, based on the proposed policies.

    The rule proposes the following:

    • It would remove 2 categories of ICD-9-CM codes from the HH PPS Grouper: diagnosis codes that reflect severely acute patients that are not treated in the home health setting; and diagnosis codes for conditions that would not impact the home health plan of care. As such, these codes will not be included in the update to ICD-10-CM, which is effective October 1, 2014.
    • Per the mandate of the Affordable Care Act to rebase the HH PPS, it would reduce the national, standardized 60-day episode rate by 3.5% annually 2014 through 2017.
    • It would increase each of the per-visit payment rates for the low-utilization payment adjustment by 3.5 percent annually 2014 through 2017.
    • It would add 2 claims-based quality measures, “Rehospitalization During the First 30 Days of a Home Health Stay” and “Emergency Department Use Without Hospital Readmission During the First 30 days of Home Health.”

    The proposed rule will be open for comment until August 26, 2013. APTA will analyze the provisions of the proposed rule and submit comments. A detailed summary of the proposed rule will be available on the APTA website in the coming weeks.

    In addition to this proposed rule, CMS released the draft of OASIS-C1 to prepare for transition to ICD-10. APTA will submit comments on the draft, which are due August 20, 2013.