The Road Less Traveled
By APTA President Sharon L. Dunn, PT, PhD, OCS
Anyone delivering care in the current environment can see the evidence of change ahead. We know that care delivery in a few years—even later this year—will look vastly different from how it looks today.
In fact, some changes are already here. Medicare will flip the switch on its Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model (CJR) on April 1. Providers serving patients with TKA or THA in 67 US regions will be impacted by this collaborative bundled care model, which will change the way providers, including PTs, are paid. And that is just the beginning.
So, why the drive toward change in health care? It's all about the value-vs-volume equation. Payment decisions are rightly being driven by how to provide value-based care to our patients, rather than by the volume of services provided. It's a change we sorely need.
We can't—and often shouldn't—oppose change, but we can—and should—be involved in advocating for our profession as a part of the change. That's not always a clear path. Deciding which road to travel involves a lot of planning and strategy, with the hope that the environment also delivers a healthy side of opportunity that we can seize.
Of course, seizing opportunity to move the profession forward, to aid our transformation, isn't without risk. But there's an even greater risk: not acting and having someone else decide our path. That's the philosophy that drives APTA to take a proactive approach to payment reform and, more specifically, toward working with collaborators among our members and other provider stakeholders to reform the way physical therapists code services.
So let's keep thinking about how we can position ourselves for the long-term changes, but let's also prepare for the changes at hand, especially the 2 big changes coming this year. We want to make sure you are ready. First, make sure you understand what the CJR is and how it will affect you. Second, educate yourself on the new evaluation codes coming January 1, 2017, and the thinking (and process) behind their creation. Here are some resources that can help:
Health care is evolving, and our profession has a transformational vision. That's a lot of change to keep up with. But I know this profession and this association, and I'm sure that in partnership with one another, we can take on the road before us.