• Monday, February 23, 2015RSS Feed

    Learn More About New Postacute Care Data Requirements From CMS

    Work in postacute care? The US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) wants you to know that it's changing the way it collects data used in quality measures of PAC settings, and will be providing a recording and transcriptions of a forum it held on February 25.

    The special Open Door Forum sponsored by CMS provided information on the standardized data and assessment domains now required under the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014 (IMPACT Act). The new standardized submission requirements affect long-term care hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, and inpatient rehabilitation facilities.

    The requirements are part of the IMPACT Act's standardization measures that will allow the US Department of Health and Human Services to compare quality across PAC settings, improve hospital and PAC discharge planning, and use this standardized data to reform PAC payments in the future. APTA was a supporter of the legislation that created the act.

    To access the recording and transcript, or sign up for email notifications of future forums, visit the Open Door Forum webpage. Visit the CMS webpage on postacute care quality improvements, including the IMPACT Act, for more details on the changes.


    Thursday, February 19, 2015RSS Feed

    Move Forward Radio Discusses Heart Health and Cardiac Rehab for American Heart Month

    Knowing the signs of heart attack is important, but just as important are understanding the risk factors for heart disease and making the lifestyle changes that can reduce those risks. That's the focus of a recent Move Forward Radio episode that addresses heart health issues and the role of a physical therapist.

    In recognition of February as American Heart Month, Move Forward Radio talks with Pamela Bartlo, PT, DPT, CCS, who outlines the signs of a heart attack and risk behaviors for heart disease. She also describes the role of a PT in cardiac rehabilitation, and discusses how cardiac rehabilitation works best as a part of a lifestyle change for people who have heart issues.

    The main goal of cardiac rehab “is to change the person’s lifestyle behaviors so that they don’t ever have a heart problem again,” Bartlo says in the podcast.

    Other recent episodes of Move Forward Radio have included the topics of adaptive sports and fitness trends in 2015.

    Move Forward Radio airs approximately twice a month. Episodes are featured and archived at MoveForwardPT.com, APTA's official consumer information website, and can be streamed online via Blog Talk Radio or downloaded as a podcast via iTunes.

    APTA members are encouraged to alert their patients to the radio series and other MoveForwardPT.com resources to help educate the public about the benefits of treatment by a physical therapist. Ideas for future episodes and other feedback can be emailed to consumer@apta.org.


    Monday, February 09, 2015RSS Feed

    PTs Not Yet Affected by Changes to 59 Modifier Coding in Medicare

    Additional requirements around an important Medicare coding modifier are being instituted by the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), but the changes do not affect physical therapists (PTs)—at least not yet.

    The bottom line? For now, PTs can continue to use the 59 modifier under the Correct Coding Initiative.

    The changes announced by CMS in August 2014 apply to the 59 modifier in payment claims—that's the code under the health care common procedural code system (HCPCS) used to represent a service that is separate and distinct from another service it's paired with. In an effort to tease out precisely why the service is distinct, CMS is requiring some providers to use different modifiers instead of the 59 modifier. The new modifiers —XE, XP, XS, and XU—are intended to bypass a CCI edit by denoting a distinct encounter, anatomical structure, practitioner, or unusual service.

    "We're receiving questions from members about whether they have to use some new modifiers issued by CMS, and the answer at this time is no,” said Gayle Lee, JD, APTA senior director of health finance and quality. “As of February, 2015, PTs are being instructed that these new modifiers are not required for physical therapist services. However, at some point in the future, PTs may need to use these new modifiers instead of the 59 modifier, so it's important that they stay abreast with this change as implementation continues."

    In a recently issued Medicare Learning Network guidance document (.pdf), CMS stated that "providers may continue to use the 59 modifier after January 1, 2015, in any instance in which it was correctly used prior to January 1, 2015." The agency writes that "additional guidance and education as to the appropriate use of the new … modifiers will be forthcoming as CMS continues to introduce the modifiers in a gradual and controlled fashion."

    APTA will continue to monitor this issue and share news of any changes.


    Friday, February 06, 2015RSS Feed

    What's Your Advice? Check Out This PTNow Blog Case for 'Wear Red Day'

    You're a physical therapist (PT) at Anytown Physical Therapy, Anytown, USA. Say hello to Ms LZ.

    As part of February 6 "National Wear Red Day" to raise awareness about women's heart health, APTA's PTNow blog features a quick case scenario about a 44-year-old woman who has a few questions for you, based on some recent results from her primary care physician.

    Read the vignette, think about what you'd say to Ms LZ, then read on for comments on the case from Dan Malone, PT, PhD, CCS, president of the APTA Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Section. Finally, check out some additional resources that look at the PT's role in cardiopulmonary health.

    National Wear Red Day is a special part of the American Heart Association's National Heart Month, which includes a special "Go Red for Women" campaign. Heart disease is the number 1 cause of death among women, responsible for one-third of all deaths among women every year.


    Wednesday, February 04, 2015RSS Feed

    PQRS Medication Documentation, Payment Adjustments Podcasts Added to APTA Resources

    Two new APTA podcasts on the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS)—one on documentation of current medications, and another that explains the payment adjustments applied to providers who did not meet PQRS reporting requirements in 2013—are helping keep members up-to-date on a system that has become an integral part of an ever-increasing emphasis on patient outcomes in health care.

    Hosted by Heather Smith, PT, MPH, director of quality in APTA's Health and Finance Department, the podcasts join a suite of offerings on the association's PQRS webpage that cover the system's history as well as ongoing updates. Transcripts for nearly all of the podcasts are also available online.

    Interested in connecting with other providers to discuss PQRS? Check out APTA's online PQRS forum on the Hub—one of the most popular online communities offered by the association.


    Friday, January 16, 2015RSS Feed

    Move Forward Radio Discusses Fitness Trends in 2015

    This week Move Forward Radio examines the fitness trends of 2015 to find out why some have become popular, evaluate their benefits, and provide tips on how these activities can be safely explored.

    The episode features Ann Wendel, PT, DPT, CMTPT, who discusses the results of a recent worldwide survey released by the American College of Sports Medicine.

    The top trend identified by the survey is body weight training, which Wendel says has the benefit of being a “self-limiting” activity that “allows for safe progression.”

    Wendel also had good things to say about the number 4 item on the list, strength training.

    “I think strength training is one of the best things anyone can do,” Wendel said. “When we look at the benefits of it—increasing bone density, increasing resting metabolic rate to burn fat and calories and things like that—it's very important, especially as we get older, to work on strength training and especially to make it functional so we can be fit for the activities we really want to do in our daily life.”

    Listen to more of Wendel’s analysis of the ACSM’s results here.

    Move Forward Radio airs approximately twice a month. Episodes are featured and archived at MoveForwardPT.com, APTA's official consumer information website, and can be streamed online via Blog Talk Radio or downloaded as a podcast via iTunes.

    APTA members are encouraged to alert their patients to the radio series and other MoveForwardPT.com resources to help educate the public about the benefits of treatment by a physical therapist. Ideas for future episodes and other feedback can be e-mailed to consumer@apta.org.


    Wednesday, January 14, 2015RSS Feed

    PTNow Blog, Google Hangout Feature EBP in Home Health

    Applying evidence to patient care in home health physical therapy is crucial—but overcoming organizational, logistical, and even attitudinal barriers can be challenging. A new Google Hangout featured in the most recent PTNow blog could help physical therapists (PTs) respond to those challenges.

    In addition to a discussion of barriers to changing practice to reflect current evidence, the hangout also provides some tips on how to get the message across that go beyond the "here's a handout" approach.

    The hangout features Patty Scheets, PT, DPT, MHS, NCS, director of quality and clinical outcomes at Infinity Rehab and vice president of the APTA Neurology Section, and Ken Miller, PT, DPT, CEEAA, clinical educator for Catholic Home Care and chair of the APTA Home Health Section’s Practice Committee. Mary Tischio Blackinton, PT, EdD, CEEAA, GCS, PTNow associate editor for social media, hosted the session.

    Check out the blog, check out the hangout, and then join the conversation.


    Monday, January 12, 2015RSS Feed

    Ready for ICD 10? Find Out Before It's Implemented

    The shift to the new International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10) is set for October 1, but physical therapists (PTs) still have time to capitalize on an opportunity to test the new system before actual implementation.

    Recently the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it is extending the deadline for an April "end-to-end" testing program (.pdf, see page 5). The program will allow approximately 850 health care providers to see a claim through from submission to remittance advice. APTA is encouraging members to sign up for the program before the new January 21 deadline to gauge their own practice's readiness for the change.

    The testing program will run the week of April 26 through May 1, 2015, and will allow a sample group of providers to work with Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) and the Common Electronic Data Interchange (CEDI) contractors to evaluate the system for processing the new codes. That testing process will include submission of claims with ICD-10 codes to the fee-for-service claims system, adjudication of claims, and the production of accurate remittance advices.

    CMS is targeting a broad cross-section of providers and will select testing participants based on needs for the study. Volunteers can apply through their MAC's website but must do so by January 21. The MACs and CEDI will notify the volunteers who have been selected and provide them with information by February 13.

    More information on the testing process is available online (.pdf). The ICD-10 codes are scheduled to be implemented on October 1, 2015.

    Need more information on what the change to ICD-10 means for your practice? Visit the APTA ICD-10 webpage, which includes background and resources.


    Monday, January 12, 2015RSS Feed

    Free Webinar Looks at Advantages of 'Workload' Model for PTs Helping Students

    Could a new model of staff allocation based on the range of a student's needs—rather than a simple headcount of students in need of support services—help physical therapists (PTs) and school systems produce better outcomes? That's the issue on the table at a free webinar set for January 22.

    "Caseload to Workload and the role of Specialized Instructional Support Personnel" will focus on approaches to staff allocation that move away from a medical "caseload" model that divvies up staff based on the number of students in need of services, and moves toward a "workload" model that assesses the range of demands on an individual student as well as the range and intensity of services required to meet those demands.

    The free 90-minute presentation will begin at 1:00 pm, and will feature speakers from APTA, the American Occupational Therapy Association, and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Presenters will share success stories and offer downloadable practice resources.

    The presentation is sponsored by the Idea Partnership, a consortium of national associations, technical assistance providers, and state and local organizations focused on cross-disciplinary collaboration in education. APTA is a member of the partnership.

    Joining the webinar is easy:

    • Sign into Adobe Connect 5 minutes before start time
    • Click "enter as guest" and type your full name
    • Click "enter room"

    The Idea Partnership recommends that participants who have never used Adobe Connect test their connection before the webinar. Contact Sandy Schefkind for more information.


    Friday, January 09, 2015RSS Feed

    Peer Review Resources Now Available From APTA

    A new set of resources from APTA on peer review aims to help physical therapists (PTs) learn how to establish systems that allow for professional peers to evaluate the processes, necessity, and appropriateness of an individual PT's or physical therapist assistant's services. The approach can involve PTs from within or outside a given practice setting.

    In addition to a basic description of the process, APTA's peer review webpage also provides a list of terminology, and information on how to conduct a self-assessment—a key element that needs to take place before a peer review system begins.

    Also available: a .50 CEU online course on peer review. Both the online course and web resources were developed in response to a motion from the APTA House of Delegates.

    APTA's position is that PTs are the preferred peer reviewers of physical therapist services. The association is opposed to any activities related to peer review that may adversely impact a PT's plan of care or intervention without the involvement of a PT reviewer.


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