By this point, you may have already heard that the future of Meaningful Use (MU)—at least as healthcare providers once knew it—has officially sunsetted. If you’re a PT, OT, or SLP, you might respond to that news with something like, “Yeah—so?” After all, rehab therapists were never eligible for MU anyway. But, just because the MU program is being consolidated—along with the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and the Value-Based Payment Modifier (VM)—into the new Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), it doesn’t mean it’s dead for good. In fact, under MIPS, the program formerly known as MU will evolve to serve a slightly different goal: helping patients achieve better outcomes. Technology will still be at the forefront of the revamped version of MU, but this time around, rehab therapists can’t just turn a blind eye to the requirements—at least not in the long term. After all, therapists are set to become MIPS-eligible in 2019. So, at some point in the next year, rehab therapy providers would be wise to embrace a new take on an old UPS slogan and ask themselves, “What can my EMR do for me?”

Regulatory Roundup: 6 Challenges Confronting Rehab Therapists in 2018 - Regular BannerRegulatory Roundup: 6 Challenges Confronting Rehab Therapists in 2018 - Small Banner

EMRs are crucial to MIPS success.

Because rehab therapists aren’t eligible to participate in MIPS during the program’s first two years, they’re under no obligation to report quality data in 2017 and 2018. But that doesn’t mean therapists should put off learning the ins and outs of MIPS. After all, the requirements may force some therapists to adopt—or switch to—a new EMR. That’s because MIPS, much like the original MU program, relies heavily on the efficiency of intelligent EMRs to collect and transfer patient data.

Why Efficiency Matters

As we previously reported, CMS will allow therapists to participate in MIPS during the 2017 and 2018 reporting years on a voluntary basis—and, candidly, it’s an opportunity PTs shouldn’t ignore. That’s because collecting patient data on your own terms—without the threat of a penalty—allows you to fine-tune your quality reporting practices prior to 2019, when it becomes an industry-wide requirement. It also allows you a chance to determine whether your existing technology (i.e., your EMR) not only meets MIPS requirements (including the ability to measure meaningful outcomes), but also allows you to comply without threatening the quality—or efficiency—of patient care delivery. After all, the overarching objective of all reform legislation is to move the US healthcare system to a value-based care paradigm.

Why Providers Should Care

Rehab therapists who are still documenting on paper or with a subpar EMR should heed the above cues, as providers who aren’t aware of—or who straight-up ignore—the benefits of scalable technology run the risk of fouling up their documentation process and potentially getting audited. Not only that, but using outdated and inefficient documentation practices “impedes the advancement of healthcare IT and the large-scale improvement of patient care.” Thus, in addition to ensuring their EMR checks all the necessary MIPS boxes, providers should also make sure their software:

  • Is web-based, so the information is accessible by clinicians in any setting and from any location. Web-based platforms also foster interoperability.
  • Provides outcomes tests and data points that practitioners across the healthcare continuum can access and interpret.
  • Accounts for all rehab-related compliance regulations.
  • Has a proven track record for improving patient care through technology.

Outcomes tracking is crucial to optimizing patient care.

MACRA represents another step forward in the CMS-led push to achieve the Triple Aim: providing higher quality care at a lower cost with better patient satisfaction. As such, patient outcomes data is more important now than it has ever been. And even though MU is going away, technology will still play a major role in providers’ ability to demonstrate stronger patient outcomes. In fact, some experts argue that MU may have had an adverse impact on providers’ ability to demonstrate meaningful use of technology, because EMR software vendors focused too heavily on simply checking all of the MU boxes rather than on achieving the ultimate goal: enhancing patient care. Today, providers have an opportunity to put patients back at the forefront—and that’s especially true for rehab therapists, who have ample time to ensure their clinical technology will satisfy MIPS requirements and, more importantly, empower them to deliver the best possible care.


How do you envision MACRA and MIPS—including relics from the MU program—impacting your practice on the technology and quality reporting fronts? Do you believe this legislation is a move in the right direction? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

  • Last Legs: The Compliance Vulnerabilities of Dead or Dying Software Image

    articleOct 24, 2016 | 5 min. read

    Last Legs: The Compliance Vulnerabilities of Dead or Dying Software

    Rusty mechanical equipment. Creaky carnival rides. Wobbly chairs. People are naturally skeptical of things that are dilapidated, rundown, or slipshod—and with good reason. After all, that which is ramshackle usually isn’t reliable. Now, imagine it’s the physical therapy software you use everyday to run your rehab therapy practice that’s gone derelict. Take PTOS EMR, for example , because if you didn’t know, this therapy office software is going out of business, and it has ceased all updates …

  • Common Questions from our Cloudy with a Chance of Reform Webinar Image

    articleFeb 13, 2017 | 13 min. read

    Common Questions from our Cloudy with a Chance of Reform Webinar

    In our first webinar of 2017 , WebPT’s co-founder and president, Heidi Jannenga, teamed up with CEO Nancy Ham to discuss the current and future healthcare trends that will impact PTs, OTs, and SLPs. (Missed it? No worries; you can view the complete recording here .) As always, we received quite a few questions during the presentation—way more than we could address live. So, we’ve put them all here, in one handy Q&A doc. Scroll through and …

  • Founder Letter: My 5 PT Industry Predictions for 2015 Image

    articleJan 6, 2015 | 6 min. read

    Founder Letter: My 5 PT Industry Predictions for 2015

    I’m no fortune teller; I don’t have a crystal ball, and I can’t see into the future. But like a good sports analyst or meteorologist, I can make some educated hypotheses. And while I definitely couldn’t tell you who’s going to win the Super Bowl next month—or what the weather will be like at kick-off—I’m pretty confident about these five predictions of the topics and trends that will have the biggest impact on the physical therapy community …

  • ICD-10 Open Forum Image

    webinarOct 5, 2015

    ICD-10 Open Forum

    On October 1, the US officially said RIP to ICD-9 and brought ICD-10 to life. For some of you, the transition might’ve been all sugar and spice—a real treat. But for many others, the switch to the new code set might’ve left you feeling overwhelmed, tricked, or even a bit scared. At the very least, you might be haunted by some lingering questions. That’s where we can help. We’ve brewed a cauldron filled to the brim with …

  • The Ultimate ICD-10 FAQ: Part Deux Image

    articleSep 24, 2015 | 16 min. read

    The Ultimate ICD-10 FAQ: Part Deux

    Just when we thought we’d gotten every ICD-10 question under the sun, we got, well, more questions. Like, a lot more. But, we take that as a good sign, because like a scrappy reporter trying to get to the bottom of a big story, our audience of blog readers and webinar attendees aren’t afraid to ask the tough questions—which means they’re serious about preparing themselves for the changes ahead. And we’re equally serious about providing them with …

  • Is Your Physical Therapy Software Ready for ICD-10? Image

    articleAug 25, 2015 | 6 min. read

    Is Your Physical Therapy Software Ready for ICD-10?

    At this point, the majority of physical therapy clinics are using some type of software to document, schedule, and bill for patient treatment. Thanks to ever-increasing compliance regulations, paper had to go the way of the VHS, becoming nearly obsolete. When your practice switched from paper to software, it was a big change. The process took time and training, and there undoubtedly was a period of adjustment. Now, you’re faced with another switch: ICD-10. And just as …

  • ICD-10 Crash Course: Last-Minute Training for PTs, OTs, and SLPs Image

    webinarSep 2, 2015

    ICD-10 Crash Course: Last-Minute Training for PTs, OTs, and SLPs

    It’s officially here: the last month before all HIPAA-eligible professionals must switch to the ICD-10 code set. As the regret of procrastination washes over many of those professionals, they’re scrambling to ready themselves and their practices for the big switch. If you, like so many other rehab therapists, find yourself asking, “ICD-what?” then you’re in dire need of straightforward training—stat! Otherwise, you could leave your practice vulnerable to claim denials after October 1. Join us at 9:00 …

  • Cloudy with a Chance of Reform: 5 Key Healthcare Forecasts for 2017 Image

    webinarJan 5, 2017

    Cloudy with a Chance of Reform: 5 Key Healthcare Forecasts for 2017

    Predicting the weather is tough—just ask any meteorologist who has called for sun on the day of a major downpour. Well, predicting the fate of the US healthcare system isn’t much easier—there’s a lot up in the air, after all. But, even without a healthcare equivalent of Doppler Radar, there are a few key trends that are sure to have a major impact on PTs, OTs, and SLPs in 2017 and beyond. And to keep your practice …

  • Functional Limitation Reporting Refresher Image

    articleDec 12, 2016 | 4 min. read

    Functional Limitation Reporting Refresher

    The rehab therapy industry is abuzz with PQRS talk right now. In case you missed it: PQRS as it exists today is dunzo . In 2017, it’ll be replaced with the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System , or MIPS. Unfortunately, though—and yes, it is unfortunate —PTs, OTs, and SLPs are not required to complete MIPS reporting until 2019. (And the jury is still out as to whether they’ll be able to voluntarily participate before then.) All outpatient rehab …

Achieve greatness in practice with the ultimate EMR for PTs, OTs, and SLPs.