New Bills Include PTs in Locum Tenens

What do chiropractors, osteopaths, and podiatrists have in common? Locum tenens applies to all of them, and thanks to recent companion bills, physical therapists soon might experience the benefits of this law as well. Currently, private practice PTs simply must avoid absences—or “risk gaps”—in patient care. According to this PT in Motion news release, though, the Prevent Interruptions in Physical Therapy Act, which consists of two identical bills (H.R. 556 for the House of Representatives and S.313 for the Senate), would allow a PT to “bring in another licensed provider to treat Medicare patients and bill Medicare through the practice provider number” during the PT’s temporary absence for illness, pregnancy, vacation, or continuing medical education. Learn more about locum tenens here.

Triumph in the Triple-Aim Game: The Healthcare Executive’s Guide to Readmission Reduction, Patient Safety Promotion, and ACO Success - Regular BannerTriumph in the Triple-Aim Game: The Healthcare Executive’s Guide to Readmission Reduction, Patient Safety Promotion, and ACO Success - Small Banner

HHS Pushes Medicare to Pay for Quality, not Quantity

The Obama administration has big changes on the horizon for Medicare. According to a Modern Healthcare article, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in an effort to reduce costs and improve care, has unveiled a plan that will transition Medicare payment models from volume-based to value-based. Historically, Medicare has relied on a fee-for-service reimbursement model. However, the HHS plan aims to have “30% of payments for traditional Medicare benefits...tied to alternative payment models such as accountable care organizations by the end of 2016” and “50% by the end of 2018.” Furthermore, HHS wants Medicare to make 85% of its hospital payments through programs like “the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program or the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program by the end of 2016” and 90% by 2018. These changes only emphasize the crucial role outcomes will play in the coming years.

Physical Therapy Self-Referral Exception is Back—Back Again

The APTA may have another reason to celebrate in 2016. According to an announcement from the organization, President Barack Obama’s 2016 budget includes a proposal to eliminate existing “loopholes in the Stark law” that allow provider referral to “most in-office ancillary services (IOAS) under Medicare.” The APTA has long advocated for the elimination of these loopholes. Should Congress approve this cost-savings proposal, physicians will no longer be able to “refer patients for certain services—including physical therapy—to a business that has a financial relationship with the referring provider.” The budget still has a long way to go before approval—and previous budgets have included similar proposals that failed to pass—but the future is promising. Be on the lookout for more information from the APTA as it becomes available. To read more, click here.  


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  • This Week in PT News, June 26 Image

    articleJun 26, 2015 | 2 min. read

    This Week in PT News, June 26

    Prevent Interruptions in Physical Therapy Act Passes Senate Committee The US Senate Finance Committee has approved the Prevent Interruptions in Physical Therapy Act (S. 313), a piece of legislation proposing extended "locum tenens" provisions for physical therapists in rural and underserved areas. According to  this PT in Motion article , the bill would “allow a PT to bring in another licensed physical therapist to treat Medicare patients and bill Medicare through the practice provider number during temporary …

  • Founder Letter: Is the World Ready to #ChoosePT? Image

    articleOct 4, 2016 | 9 min. read

    Founder Letter: Is the World Ready to #ChoosePT?

    Fall is officially here—and all across the country, people are enjoying cozy sweaters, crisp mornings, and pumpkin spice lattes. For those of us in the physical therapy space, fall brings another exciting seasonal ritual: National Physical Therapy Month (NPTM) . Each October, the PT community—led by the APTA—unites around a specific theme as we celebrate and promote our profession. In an effort to bring even more attention to its #ChoosePT campaign, the APTA has decided to make …

  • On this Election Day, Be Sure to #VotePT Image

    downloadNov 8, 2016

    On this Election Day, Be Sure to #VotePT

    Today is Election Day, and we hope that means that you’ll go out to the polls—if you haven’t already—and exercise your right to vote . And as you do, don’t forget that the importance of influencing government policy doesn’t end on Election Day (though we’d encourage you to consider candidates’ support of pro-PT legislation as you cast your ballots); advocacy for the physical therapy industry should be a career-long endeavor. Because while we may not always agree …

  • Everything You Need to Know About POPTS Image

    articleNov 26, 2018 | 6 min. read

    Everything You Need to Know About POPTS

    From day one of physical therapy school, we were taught to not even entertain the idea of working for a POPTS practice. I remember hearing the words, “Your license is on the line,” and feeling vaguely scared of the potential fallout from joining one of these heinous practices. But, I was so overwhelmed by the immediacy of school concerns that I didn’t take the time to consider why. I never did work for a POPTS clinic, but …

  • Odd Provider Out: Why PT Exclusion from MIPS is Bad for Future Payments Image

    articleMay 4, 2016 | 6 min. read

    Odd Provider Out: Why PT Exclusion from MIPS is Bad for Future Payments

    It’s official: rehab therapists are just a sashay away from exiting the PQRS dance floor. That’s because last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed final rule that, if adopted, will put into effect the Medicare Access & CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). And that, in turn, will give the green light to the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) , a brand spankin’-new quality data reporting program that consolidates PQRS , …

  • 3 Emerging Trends in OT Telehealth and Technology Image

    articleMar 15, 2019 | 10 min. read

    3 Emerging Trends in OT Telehealth and Technology

    If you’ve been to Ascend —or any business-related rehab therapy event—you’ve certainly heard this common complaint: “There are so many patients who would benefit from OT, PT, and SLP—but they aren't making it into our clinics.” To make matters worse, we therapy professionals aren't very good at retaining the patients who do come to see us. And, of the few patients who complete an entire course of therapy, many don’t comply with their home exercise programs (HEPs) …

  • The Bundle Conundrum: Should PTs Participate in CJR? Image

    articleNov 9, 2016 | 6 min. read

    The Bundle Conundrum: Should PTs Participate in CJR?

    There a lot of hot topics in health care right now. Among top trending terms like “Affordable Care Act,” “pay-for-performance,” and “value-based care,” you’ve also probably heard “Medicare bundled payments”—specifically, “CJR” (or Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement ). It’s a new bundled payment model from CMS, and it is of particular importance to outpatient rehab providers. As this article explains, “CJR will support better care for patients who are undergoing elective hip and knee replacement surgeries—the two …

  • This Week in PT News, April 4 Image

    articleApr 4, 2014 | 2 min. read

    This Week in PT News, April 4

    ICD-10 Delayed On Monday, the Senate approved HR 4302, which extends the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) fix for another year and delays mandatory ICD-10 implementation until 2015. Learn more about this legislation and how it will affect your practice here . Muscle Mass Valuable in Older Adults A new study out of UCLA shows that the more muscle mass older adults have, the less likely they are to die prematurely. This article explains why muscle mass might …

  • What the New HCAHPS Proposal Means for the Future of Hospital-Based PT  Image

    articleAug 11, 2016 | 3 min. read

    What the New HCAHPS Proposal Means for the Future of Hospital-Based PT

    When a patient is in pain, that patient wants relief—fast. And even if the patient knows medication is only a temporary fix—and a potentially dangerous one, at that—he or she will probably still choose drugs over longer-lasting, less-instant treatment options like physical therapy. For healthcare providers beholden to payment structures that incentivize patient satisfaction, that preference presents a real pickle: give the patient what he or she wants—long-term consequences be damned—or risk lower satisfaction scores (and potentially …

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