Editor's note: This story has been modified to reflect a recent announcement by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that it is extending the deadline to submit review requests until December 16, 2015. (This is an additional extension from that of an earlier CMS announcement, which initially extended the deadline to December 11.)
If you recently received a Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS)-related penalty notice from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), you're not alone. But you need to take action before December 16, a deadline moved back by CMS from its original November 23 date.
APTA is aware that some members have received letters related to PQRS performance during 2014. If you believe you have received a penalty notice letter in error, be sure to submit an informal review request through the CMS "QualityNet" website by Friday, December 16.
CMS has informed APTA that providers have been experiencing problems in reaching QualityNet over the past several days, and says that it's attempting to fix the problem. APTA is also working with CMS to ensure that physical therapists are not unduly penalized for 2014 PQRS performance.
Questions? Problems with filing an informal review? Contact the APTA advocacy staff.
Want more on PQRS? A recording of APTA's recent webinar, "Physical Therapy and PQRS in 2016: How to Report Successfully," will be available in the coming weeks.
Physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) understand the importance of physical activity (PA) for their patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA), and they know just what a patient should do to maintain healthy activity and exercise levels. The challenge, of course, is getting patients to actually follow through.
Maura Daly Iversen, PT, DPT, SD, MPH, FNAP, FAPTA, knows the challenge well. Iversen, who serves as chair of Northeastern University's Department of Physical Therapy, Movement, and Rehabilitation in the Bouve´ College of Health Sciences in Boston, has made nonpharmacologic approaches to rheumatology treatment a particular area of focus during her career, and will share her expertise during a free "lunch and learn" webinar sponsored by the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance (OAAA). APTA is an OAAA member.
Titled "Techniques to Enhance Adherence to Physical Activity and Exercise Recommendations: From Theory to Practice," the prerecorded 30-minute session, set for Wednesday, November 18, at 12:00 pm ET, will address ways to motivate patients with OA - and keep them motivated.
In the meantime, Iversen provided PT in Motion News with a quick take on some of the do's and don'ts she'll be covering during the program:
Note: although the webinar is prerecorded, Iversen will be available by email to answer your questions from 1:45 pm-2:45 pm ET on the same day. More information on contacting her will be made available during the broadcast. Can't make the webinar? OAAA archives its webinars for viewing at a later time.
Don't know your APC from a hole in the ground? Wouldn't recognize a CMG if it bit you? (Hint: they don't in fact bite.) Think OASIS is just the name of a 90s band?
The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has a little something for you.
Now available for free download: MedPAC's latest version of "Payment Basics," a series of informational sheets that describe the need-to-know elements of 19 different Medicare payment systems. Areas covered include outpatient therapy, skilled nursing facilities, home health services, hospital acute inpatient services, and more.
Most information sheets provide background for how the system is organized and include flowcharts for a visual representation of how that particular payment system works.
Quick facts from the MedPAC Payment Basics: According to the MedPAC report on outpatient therapy, in 2011 Medicare spent $5.7 billion on outpatient therapy services provided to 4.9 million beneficiaries. Physical therapy services accounted for 72% of all spending in this area.
Did you participate in the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2014? If so, did you report measure #128, "Preventive Care: General Health, Body Mass Index (BMI) Screening and Followup"? That data, linked to your name, will soon be posted to the Physician Compare website, and you should verify its accuracy while you can.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has opened the 30-day preview period for the 2014 quality measures that will be reported later this year to Physician Compare, the CMS website that provides the public with searchable information on health care providers, including physical therapists (PTs) who participated in PQRS in 2014.
You can access the secured measures preview site now through the Provider Quality Information Portal (PQIP). To learn more about how to preview your measures, visit the Physician Compare Initiative page.
At present, the only publicly reported data relevant to PTs is the BMI code--#128 for PTs who reported individually via claims data submission. CMS has produced flowcharts to explain the public reporting process.
APTA and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have partnered to offer physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) new resources to promote community-focused, evidence-based physical activity programs that help people manage arthritis outside a therapeutic setting.
Information on the offerings have been made available on the APTA website, through the association's consumer-focused MoveForwardPT.com, and via a CDC webpage. Taught by trained, certified instructors, the programs extend the benefits of physical therapy through activities including walking, aquatics, and low-impact aerobics.
The evidence-based programs are designed to be effective for patients with arthritis and related conditions that limit mobility, and generally cost less than $50 per participant.
It's beginning to look like a dynasty: for the third year in a row, Utah has been declared the best state in which to practice physical therapy, this year followed by Virginia and Nebraska. The rankings—and the explanations behind the rating system—appear in the October issue of PT in Motion, APTA's member magazine.
The rankings were derived from an analysis of 8 factors: well-being and future livability, literacy and health literacy, employment and employment projections for physical therapy, business and practice friendliness, technology and innovation, compensation and cost of living, physical therapist/physical therapist assistant/student engagement with APTA, and—new this year—health and financial disparities.
"What's the secret of Utah's success? It had consistently strong scores across the board, with a particularly high rating (third) in 'well-being and future livability' and coming in first for its lack of health and financial disparities," writes PT in Motion Editor Donald E. Tepper in the article.
This year, both Virginia and Nebraska pushed out Colorado and Minnesota to take over the number 2 and 3 positions. Colorado dropped to fourth place, and Minnesota fell to fifth.
As Tepper explains in the article, the overall scores gave equal weight to each of the 8 factors used in the analysis—an assumption that may not be the case for an individual physical therapist or physical therapist assistant, who might feel that some factors are more important than others. To provide as complete a picture as possible, the article provides each state's individual rankings on all 8 factors for the top 20 states.
Rounding out the top 20 after Minnesota were North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho, Iowa, Vermont, Washington, Alaska, Arizona, Wyoming, Oregon, Montana, Texas, Kansas, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire.
"The Best States in Which to Practice" is this month's open-access article in the online version of PT in Motion, which makes it easy to share with nonmembers. (Also available to share this month is “Facing True North From the Louisiana South,” a profile of APTA’s new president, Sharon Dunn, PT, PhD, OCS.)
Hardcopy versions of PT in Motion are mailed to all members who have not opted out and to subscribers; digital versions of the entire issue are available online ahead of print to members.
The US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) says that it has "tested and retested our systems" designed to handle the ICD-10 codes that will begin on October 1, and wants health care providers to feel equally prepared for the transition.
But if you still have questions, they're offering resources that may provide answers.
A recent blog post from CMS ICD-10 Ombudsman Bill Rogers outlines 4 major areas of support that are available online. These include:
In addition to the CMS resources, APTA offers an ICD-10 webpage that includes frequently-asked-questions, case scenarios, and a link to a popular (and free-to-members) recorded webinar on final steps toward implementation of the new system.
Editor's note: this story was changed from its original version to clarify tip 4, which now emphasizes that if care started before October 1, new referrals or plans of care are not required.
The long-awaited changeover to ICD-10 is finally happening on October 1. Are you ready? Here are 5 hot tips on the new system, plus 1 bonus piece of advice.
THE APTA BONUS TIP:
This is really happening.
ICD-10 coding will be required October 1. There will be no postponement, no exemptions, no dual-code period, or anything else that would mean physical therapists could avoid using the new codes, even temporarily. The changeover is a reality.
If you're still feeling uncertain about the switch, give yourself an opportunity to get up to speed: get some guidance on the new system from a free APTA webinar, and then dive deeper into resources now available at the association's ICD-10 webpage.
Surprises are great for birthdays and anniversaries. When it comes to ICD-10—not so much.
That's why APTA now provides additional resources that can help make the October 1 changeover to the new coding system as uneventful as possible.
APTA's ICD-10 webpage now features an extensive collection of information that ranges from the big-picture stuff to the nitty gritty of how the coding works—including some case studies of how the codes would be used in physical therapy and links to additional guidance from the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
In addition to the case studies, other resources on the page include:
The assistance goes beyond the resources posted on apta.org: the association has also created a special online community devoted to ICD-10, where you can ask questions and share experiences with colleagues.
National Falls Prevention Awareness Day is set for September 23, with Falls Prevention Awareness Week beginning the week of September 21. It's a good time to remember how physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) have been at the forefront of falls prevention work through the years, and to recommit to continuing that work.
Here are 5 great APTA resources that can help you get in that falls-prevention state of mind:
Spearheaded by the National Council on Aging (NCOA), Falls Prevention Awareness Day was created to highlight what NCOA describes as the leading cause of injuries among older Americans, with an estimated 2.5 million falls-related injuries treated annually, which include 734,000 hospitalizations and nearly 22,000 deaths.
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