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.

Full story of postacute care data requirements at APTA

Study Says Therapeutic Taping No Better Than Other Approaches to Treat Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain, Disability

rapeutic taping may be getting increased exposure through its use by high-profile athletes, but authors of a new systematic review say that existing evidence doesn’t support the idea that the procedure is superior to other treatment approaches in reducing pain and disability for individuals with chronic musculoskeletal pain.

In an article published recently in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers describe their analysis of 17 randomized controlled trials that included taping (often referred to as “Kinesio taping” or KT) with minimal or placebo intervention, as well as with more active treatment approaches including exercise, stretching, traction, and manipulation.

Full story of therapeutic taping and other methods at APTA

PTs Included in Reintroduced Youth Concussions Legislation

Legislation that recognizes the ability of physical therapists (PTs) to make return-to-play decisions for youth sports participants has been reintroduced in the US Senate and House of Representatives.

Called the Supporting Athletes, Families, and Educators to Protect the Lives of Athletic Youth Act (SAFE PLAY Act), S. 436/H.R. 829 was introduced by Sen Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Reps Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) and Lois Capps (D-CA). Supporters, including APTA, believe the legislation could lead to better management and awareness of some necessary aspects of sports safety, including concussions among student athletes, their families, and their coaches.

Full story of PTs and youth concussions at APTA

Did Physical Therapy Transform a Life? Tell Us Your Story

If there’s 1 thing physical therapists and physical therapist assistants know a thing or 2 about, it’s patient transformation, and how physical therapy can make a very real difference in the life of a patient.

There are some great stories out there, and now it’s time to share them.

APTA is celebrating the transformative power of physical therapy by collecting powerful stories of patients to share at MoveForwardPT.com, APTA’s official consumer information website, and via social media. If you have a current or former patient or client whose life has been transformed by physical therapy, please share it, or encourage the individual to do so. Submission instructions are available in the Patient Stories section of MoveForwardPT.com. Deadline for submissions is Monday, March 30, 2015.

To tell your story, visit APTA


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.

Full story of heart health and cardiac rehab at APTA

Read All About It: Check Out Final Edition of CSM Coverage

From a debate on rotator cuff rehabilitation to a Crane lecture on the role of ethics education in physical therapist training, and from the ways society views “disability” to the ways physical therapists and physical therapist assistants might borrow from the business world to be better entrepreneurs, the last issue of the Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) daily news provides a great snapshot of the breadth of topics discussed at this year’s meeting in Indianapolis, February 4–7.

In addition to the topics listed above, the recap covers the Cerasoli lecture as well as highlights from sessions focused on identifying predictors for injuries, identification of risk factors for wounds and ulcers, water-based exercise, bone health, and more.

For more information on the final edition of CSM coverage, visit APTA

Tennis Elbow Incidence Rates Show ‘Significant’ Decline Since 2000; Surgery Rates Up

Authors of a new study conclude that incidence rates for new-onset tennis elbow have decreased “significantly” since 2000, while the use of surgery continues to rise. What’s harder to pinpoint is exactly why the numbers look the way they do.

In what its authors believe is the first-ever study to describe the incidence and natural history of lateral elbow tendinosis (LET), researchers closely examined medical records of 5,867 patients in a single Minnesota county for incidence and surgery rates between 2000 and 2012. Additionally, a random 10% sample of this patient population was reviewed more carefully to focus on “describing the natural history, recurrence rates, and utilization of nonsurgical and surgical treatments.” The study was e-published ahead of print in the American Journal of Sports Medicine.

Full story of tennis elbow decline at APTA

New Device Promotes Work/Work Balance

Want to feel more instability at work? Say hello to the standing desk surfboard.

A recent article in Fast Coexist features “The Level,” the latest addition to office furniture designed to encourage healthy physical habits in the workplace. Essentially a kind of skateboard deck with a curved bottom, the Level is an attempt to provide standing desk users with an unstable (though safe) platform that requires more muscles to maintain balance.

The device capitalizes on growing concern over the detrimental health effects of long periods of sitting, and a move toward desks that require that users stand, or self-adjust to allow standing work as an option.

Full story of the level device at APTA

‘Moderate’-Quality Evidence Supports Strengthening, Stretching Exercises for Chronic Neck Pain

According to results of a new systematic review, moderate-grade evidence seems to support strengthening and stretching exercises to help ease chronic neck pain, while the use of endurance and stretching exercises alone don’t seem to make much of a difference. But the real takeaway of the recently published Cochrane review is that much more work needs to be done to better classify this type of pain and to better track exercise dosage information.

The review, published on January 28, examined 27 trials (2,485 participants) aimed at identifying whether exercise reduced neck pain and disability, improved function, and increased patient satisfaction and reported quality of life. The trials included studies that compared an exercise treatment with no treatment or a placebo, as well as those that combined exercise with another intervention such as manipulation, massage, education, heat, or medications. Reviewers excluded trials that included exercise as part of a multidisciplinary or multimodal treatment and those that “required application by a trained individual.”

Full story of strength exercise for chronic neck pain at APTA

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.

Full story of PTs and 59 modifier coding in Medicare at APTA