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  • APTA Urges Increase in Payment for NCS and EMG Tests

    The values of the CPT codes describing nerve conduction studies (NCS) and electromyography (EMG) tests should be increased to more accurately reflect the intensity of the work involved, APTA and others contended yesterday. In particular, APTA member John Palazzo, PT, DSc, ECS, represented APTA in the NCS refinement panel that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) conducted at the request of APTA and the other groups.

    These groups have urged CMS to reconsider Medicare payment cuts that were made to NCS and EMG services for 2013.

    During the discussions, presenters provided CMS staff, carrier medical directors, and several other panel members a detailed explanation of the intensity of the work involved in performing NCS and EMG tests to support an increase in payment for these services.

    APTA anticipates that a decision will be made on or around November 1, 2013, when the 2014 physician fee schedule is released, regarding whether the work values and therefore payment for EMG codes (95886 and 95887) and NCS (95908-95913) will increase in 2014. APTA will share any information when it becomes available.

    Payment for NCS and EMG was cut more than 50% beginning January 1, and APTA says it has a catastrophic effect on patients who depend on their health care providers to care for complex and often chronic neurologic diseases.

    Other organizations that participated in the refinement panel yesterday along with APTA were the American Academy of Neurology, American Clinical Neurophysiology Society, American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine, and American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery.

    Older Adults Encouraged to Check for Fall Hazards

    In recognition of Falls Prevention Awareness Day on September 22, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is urging older adults to take a moment to complete a room-by-room checklist to identify and repair possible fall hazards in their homes.

    "Hazards in the home are one of the leading causes of falls in older adults," says APTA spokesperson Patrice Winter, PT, DPT. "Removing throw rugs, rerouting electrical cords, and installing handrails are simple ways in which one can make a home safer."

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of adults ages 65 and older fall each year in the United States. Falls are the leading cause of deaths due to injuries and the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma for the aging population.

    APTA is a member of The Falls Free™ Coalition of the National Council on Aging's (NCOA's) Center for Healthy Aging, and it supports the goals of that coalition, including Falls Prevention Awareness Day. Resources for clinicians and the public are available on APTA's Balance and Falls webpage, including a video on home hazards. Additional resources are available on the NCOA Falls Free Coalition website. APTA members are encouraged to share and send their Falls Prevention Awareness Day activities and suggestions for additional APTA resources to practice-dept@apta.org.