Ch-ch-ch-changes: We’ve seen a plethora of regulatory changes this year in the PT space—from the ICD-10 delay to the therapy cap increase. Although some of these legislative twists and turns have caused headaches for therapists, others have been hugely positive. For instance, some form of direct access is now available in all 50 states as well as Washington, DC, and the US Virgin Islands. Read on to learn this year’s top regulatory changes.

The 2018 Rehab Therapy Salary Guide - Regular BannerThe 2018 Rehab Therapy Salary Guide - Small Banner

Regulatory Heavy-Hitters of 2014

    1. Measure 131 (Pain Assessment) is now available for reporting on PT initial evaluations and re-valuations. In 2013, this measure was only available at the initial evaluation.
    2. Measure 246 (Chronic Wound Care: Use of Wet to Dry Dressings in Patients) was eliminated.
    3. Measure 155 (Falls Plan of Care) must include documented consideration—or referral to a physician—for vitamin D supplementation.
    4. Measure 182 (Functional Outcome Assessment) is available for both PTs and OTs.
  • Thanks to newly passed direct access legislation in both Michigan and Oklahoma, therapists in those states can evaluate patients without physician referrals. Oklahoma’s law went into effect November 1, 2014, and PTs in Michigan can take advantage of their state’s new direct access regulation starting on January 1, 2015.

  • ICD-10 was delayed when the Senate passed HR 4302—thus keeping the terribly outdated ICD-9 code system alive. In addition to losing both time and money preparing for a change that never occurred, clinics now must shoulder the burden of outdated codes until at least October 2015—the new ICD-10 go-live date. And with talks of another delay in 2015 circulating among those in the healthcare industry, the future of the ICD-10 transition is still in limbo. Keep an eye on our blog—we’ll provide updated ICD-10 information as it’s released.

  • The therapy cap increased to $1,920—up from $1,900 in 2013—for PT and SLP combined. (And for 2015, the cap will increase to $1,940.)

  • For two years, CMS has used a policy known as Multiple Procedure Payment Reduction (MPPR) to reduce payments for therapy services when therapists perform multiple services in one visit. In 2014, the payment reduction (of the practice expense portion) increased to 50% of all services after the first unit is paid in full.

An Attack on the Scope of PT Practice

  • As many PTs are aware, some members of the acupuncture community have advocated against the practice of dry needling in physical therapy. A campaign to remove the modality from the scope of PT practice casts dry needling as “illegal” acupuncture that puts the public at risk for injury. These erroneous claims have already spurred legal action in Washington state, where a county court ruling barred a PT clinic and an educational group from teaching or performing acupuncture as part of physical therapy care. Now, traditional Chinese medicine acupuncturists are attempting to push this issue through further legislation. My two cents: Outside organizations should neither be allowed to withhold the benefits of dry needling from patients, nor define PT qualifications and scope of practice. And a lot of PTs agree with me. If you do, too, you can sign a petition here to keep this effective treatment in the hands of PTs.


I don’t know about you, but for the remaining days of 2014, I’m happy to reflect on all the changes that happened this year—regulatory or not—and kick back with some dairy-free nog. Cheers to a happy new year. Oh, and if I missed any other noteworthy legislative developments for 2014, please share them in the comments.

  • The Pay-for-Performance Puzzle: 3 Ways PTs Can Get a Piece Image

    webinarMay 1, 2015

    The Pay-for-Performance Puzzle: 3 Ways PTs Can Get a Piece

    There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to payment reform: better access, lower cost, and improved accountability. And when you put ’em all together, you have a model that rewards quality over quantity, which is a great thing for PTs—if they know how to see the big picture and prepare accordingly. In this webinar, hosts Heidi Jannenga and Charlotte Bohnett will assemble the pay-for-performance puzzle and detail three things PTs can do to get …

  • Direct Access Laws by State (Alabama-Hawaii) Image

    articleDec 8, 2017 | 10 min. read

    Direct Access Laws by State (Alabama-Hawaii)

    If you’re a physical therapist—and you’re licensed in the United States—then you’re practicing in a direct access state. That’s right: In all 50 states—as well as the US Virgin Islands and DC—direct access to at least a physical therapy evaluation is the law of the land. But, before you start seeing every patient who walks through your door without a physician referral, there are a few things you ought to know. The laws around direct access can …

  • 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 …

  • Hot Out of the Oven: Highlights of the 2017 Final Rule for PTs, OTs, and SLPs Image

    articleNov 9, 2016 | 8 min. read

    Hot Out of the Oven: Highlights of the 2017 Final Rule for PTs, OTs, and SLPs

    Halloween may be over, but if you didn’t get your fill of scares, I’ve got the perfect activity for you: reading through 1,401 pages of pure Medicare gobbledygook. Screaming yet? (Or should I check back at around page 500?) I kid, of course; there’s no need for you to slog through this year’s extra meaty Final Rule —which details the Medicare fee schedule and other important Medicare regulatory and reimbursement changes for physical therapy, occupational therapy, and …

  • Direct Access Laws by State (Idaho-Mississippi) Image

    articleDec 11, 2017 | 9 min. read

    Direct Access Laws by State (Idaho-Mississippi)

    Yesterday, I broke down the what’s what of direct access laws by state, starting in Alabama and ending in Hawaii . Today, I’m continuing our guided tour of direct access law by kicking things off in Idaho and making our way down the list to Mississippi. (Don’t worry about gas money: we’ll do it all from the comfort of our homes or offices.) Just to reiterate, I’m not a legal or compliance expert, and all of the …

  • 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 …

  • This Week in PT News, June 12 Image

    articleJun 12, 2015 | 2 min. read

    This Week in PT News, June 12

    New Study Reveals Why Some Indigenous Cultures Don’t Experience Back Pain According to NPR, California acupuncturist Esther Gokhale recently conducted an investigation into the factors that might explain why some indigenous cultures don’t experience low back pain. Like 75% of Americans, Gokhale has experienced back pain, and she wasn’t convinced Western medicine could cure her ailment. So, she spent ten years visiting and studying populations that report having little to no back pain. She noticed that while …

  • webinarAug 13, 2013

    Rehab Therapy Industry News

    In July, we hosted a webinar focused on rehab therapy industry news. This session covered an array of newsworthy and timely topics, including: Functional limitation reporting and other Medicare regulations Changes to HIPAA regulations Direct access Branding PT to general consumers ICD-10

  • ICD-10 FAQ Part Three Image

    articleOct 20, 2015 | 16 min. read

    ICD-10 FAQ Part Three

    In the movie world, threequels have a reputation for failing to match the glory of their predecessors (The Hangover Part III, anyone?). It’s almost like the writers know they’re out of material, but instead of knowing when to fold ’em, they continue to hold ’em—right up until the inevitable flop. But with ICD-10, the questions just keep getting better—which means the third and latest installment of our ICD-10 FAQ is even juicier than the last. So, grab …

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