Prior to the pandemic, telehealth was slowly gaining traction as a viable mode of service delivery for OTs, PTs, and SLPs. Providers and patients were beginning to appreciate its benefits (especially for patients in rural areas and pediatric patients living on federal land) but adoption was scattered. Some states, such as Georgia, explicitly authorized telehealth in their rehab therapy state practice acts, while others authorized rehab therapy telehealth via a separate, related statute.
In these tumultuous times, it is of the utmost importance that we prioritize the safety of our fellow healthcare workers and patients. That is why many providers are seriously considering changing their business model and reallocating resources to telehealth—especially considering that CMS is beginning to reimburse PTs and OTs for certain telehealth services.
Some states—such as Louisiana and Ohio—had already authorized telehealth as a mode of service delivery for physical therapists. A few state Medicaid programs, such as Minnesota, reimbursed for OT and SLP telehealth services. Of course, Medicare did not authorize rehabilitation providers to deliver services virtually
On Thursday, April 30, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services officially made physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists eligible to deliver—and receive reimbursement for—telehealth services for the remainder of the public health emergency period. This change—along with all other temporary provisions included in the full CMS bulletin—is retroactive to March 1, 2020.
Who’s ready for some good news? According to reports from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has lifted the remaining restrictive NCCI changes the entity implemented this past January.
As our nation unites to fight the spread of COVID-19, many rehab therapy practices have reduced or eliminated in-person treatment sessions. Unfortunately, PTs, OTs, and SLPs aren’t universally authorized to provide telehealth services. Well, there’s never been a better time to change that—starting with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
With many rehab therapists looking to transition their patients to remote care environments, the Internet has been flooded with information on telehealth, telemedicine, virtual visits, e-visits, and the like. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, these concepts were largely foreign to PTs, OTs, and SLPs. But with federal guidelines and payer policies changing almost daily to allow more patients to access more types of care remotely,
On March 19, the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) of the US Department of Homeland Security issued a memorandum and associated guidance designating physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists as “essential critical infrastructure workers.”
As we reported here, as of March 17, 2020, CMS will reimburse PTs, OTs, and SLPs for certain telehealth services provided during the COVID-19 response. Specifically, these provisions apply to services that occurred on or after March 6, 2020.
Okay, everyone, are you ready for some good news? I know I am. After much delay, physical therapist assistants and occupational therapy assistants may begin treating Tricare patients starting April 16, 2020. Rejoice!
As the reality of pandemic sets in, industries across the country are experiencing a significant dropoff in business—and private practice rehab therapy is no different. Many therapy business owners have reached out to us for recommendations on how to address this, with several requesting information on the telehealth opportunities specifically available to them and their patients.
The Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) has generated a fair bit of mayhem in the rehab therapy space. Surprisingly, though, it’s not the program’s complexity or potential payment impact that’s causing so much trouble—it’s the fact that MIPS participation is optional for many therapists.