Author: Flex Therapist

FlexTherapist CEUs provides professional online training to Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants. Our courses are approved by boards throughout the United States for CE renewal. We blog about news and research related to the field of physical therapy that will keep licensed professionals informed.

No quick fix: Missouri finds managing pain without opioids isn’t fast or easy

Missouri began offering chiropractic care, acupuncture, physical therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy for Medicaid patients in April, the latest state to try an alternative to opioids for those battling chronic pain.

Yet only about 500 of the state’s roughly 330,000 adult Medicaid users accessed the program through December, at a cost of $190,000, according to Josh Moore, the Missouri Medicaid pharmacy director. While the numbers may reflect an undercount because of lags in submitting claims, the jointly funded federal-state program known in the state as MO HealthNet is hitting just a fraction of possible patients so far.

Meanwhile, according to the state, opioids were still being doled out: 109,610 Missouri Medicaid patients of all age groups received opioid prescriptions last year.

Full article at News-Medical.net

CEUs for Physical Therapists, Physical Therapist Assistants, and Occupational Therapists

AOTA, APTA Sound Off on PDGM’s ‘Terrifying’ Therapy Consequences

Therapy layoffs, conversions to part-time status and general service reductions are beginning to ramp up in the home health space, multiple professional association groups told Home Health Care News. So much so, in fact, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) may be preparing to speak up.

The current shift in how and when home health agencies deliver physical, occupational and speech therapy services begins and ends with the Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM). Effective on Jan. 1, PDGM largely bases therapy reimbursement on patients’ characteristics, as opposed to the sheer amount of services delivered.

Minimizing therapy volume’s role in the reimbursement equation is an intentional effort by CMS to fix what it and others have historically seen as over-utilization. Contrary to some misconceptions, PDGM does not stop reimbursing for therapy services entirely, nor does it mean home health agencies can decline to deliver therapy service when a patient’s plan of care explicitly calls for it.

Full article at Home Health Care News

CEUs for Physical Therapists, Physical Therapist Assistants, and Occupational Therapists

The Five Things I’ve Learned as a Cash-Based Physical Therapy Practice Owner

What’s the greatest number of patients you’ve treated in one day? My record is 43. I treated 43 patients one day, as a student. That’s more than four people per hour during a 10-hour workday. 

In that environment (and business model) I wasn’t able to spend any quality time with my patients or treat them the way I thought was most effective. I wasn’t able to work out, go to yoga, or even spend time with my wife. It was insane.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. 

Fast forward from my days as an exhausted student to today, where I am the proud owner of LeBauer Physical Therapy, a 100% cash-based practice in Greensboro, North Carolina. We help active people stay fit, healthy, and mobile without medications, injections, or surgery. And we do it without the time-consuming hassles from CMS or third-party payers who seem to constantly want to pay less for more.

Full article at APTA

CEUs for Physical Therapists, Physical Therapist Assistants, and Occupational Therapists

What to do if your home health care agency ditches you

Craig Holly was determined to fight when the home health agency caring for his wife decided to cut off services Jan. 18.

The reason he was given by an agency nurse? His wife was disabled but stable, and Medicare was changing its payment system for home health.

Euphrosyne “Effie” Costas-Holly, 67, has advanced multiple sclerosis. She can’t walk or stand and relies on an overhead lift system to move from room to room in their house.

Effie wasn’t receiving a lot of care: just two visits every week from aides who gave her a bath, and one visit every two weeks from a nurse who evaluated her and changed her suprapubic catheter, a device that drains urine from a tube inserted in the abdomen.

Full story at News Medical

CEUs for Physical Therapists, Physical Therapist Assistants, and Occupational Therapists

Researchers identify link between decreased depressive symptoms, yoga and the neurotransmitter GABA

The benefits of yoga have been widely documented by scientific research, but previously it was not clear as to how yoga exerts its physiologic effect.

Now a new study from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) proposes that yoga can increase levels of Gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) in the short-term and completing one yoga class per week may maintain elevated GABA that could mitigate depressive symptoms.

Depression is a highly prevalent and disabling disease. According to the World Health Organization, depression affects approximately 16 million people in the U.S. every year and is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Given its high morbidity, extensive research has been done on effective treatment modalities for depression. GABA is an amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and has been associated with decreased depressive symptoms.

Full article at Medical Xpress

Physical Therapist continuing education courses

Lawmakers Want Answers From CMS on Planned 2021 Payment Cuts

Explain yourself: That’s the message of a bipartisan letter to CMS signed by 99 members of the U.S. House of Representatives who are concerned about the agency’s plan to make cuts to Medicare that include an estimated 8% reduction in payment to PTs. APTA led efforts to inform legislators of the issue.

And if that’s not enough to get CMS to take another look at the planned cut, maybe a letter from a prominent U.S. senator might help.

In a February 5 letter, the representatives write that their constituents have concerns about whether the planned cuts will reduce access to health services. In order to respond to those concerns, the legislators are asking about the process CMS used to reach the decision to reduce the reimbursement for services furnished by certain providers in 2021 in order to accommodate increases to values of the office/outpatient evaluation and management codes, known as E/M codes.

Full article at APTA

Occupational Therapist continuing education courses

Is it good to run every day?

Running every day can have many benefits. However, the number of days in a row that it is safe to run depends on a person’s goals, their level of fitness, and whether they have any ongoing medical conditions.

A meta-analysis from 2015 found that in physically inactive adults, 1 year of routine running:

  • reduced body mass
  • lowered body fat ratio
  • reduced resting heart rate
  • increased maximum oxygen uptake
  • raised levels of high-density lipoprotein, or “good,” cholesterol

Full article at Medical News Today

CEUs for Physical Therapists, Physical Therapist Assistants, and Occupational Therapists

Calf stretches and how to do them

The calf muscles run from the back of the knee to about halfway down the lower leg. Tightness in these muscles can cause soreness and pain.

People may develop tight calf muscles as a result of overactivity or insufficient stretching. Calf stretches can help relieve associated soreness and pain.

However, these stretches are unlikely to provide relief from other causes of calf pain — such as electrolyte, fluid, or nutrient deficiencies. In some people, calf pain results from more serious underlying medical conditions, such as deep vein thrombosis and peripheral vascular disease. These require medical attention.

Full article at Medical News Today

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PTAs, Direct Access, Plans of Care, and More: APTA and Components Press for Changes

If CMS really wants to put “patients over paperwork” in physical therapy, it could start by allowing PTAs to provide maintenance care across settings and easing PTA supervision requirements. And while it’s at it, the agency could abandon outmoded approval requirements for plans of care, increase direct access to PTs, and expand PTs’ ability to bill for care provided by a qualified substitute when the primary PT is unavailable. Those are just a few of the options that APTA and two of its components put on the table in recent comment letters.

Ask and CMS shall receive
The most recent comment letters — from APTA, the APTA Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy, and the association’s Home Health Section — were produced in response to a call from CMS to provide recommendations about eliminating Medicare regulations that require more stringent supervision than is required in existing state scope of practice laws, or that limit health professionals from practicing at the top of their license. CMS also asked for input on ways to strengthen its “patients over paperwork” initiative intended to ease administrative burden on health care providers as it relates to the specific areas in regulation that restrict providers from practicing to the full extent of their education and training.

Full article at APTA

How Early Intervention Changed My Son’s Life

The doorbell rings at our apartment eight times each week, and my son knows it’s time to play with one of his friends. Patricia helps him learn to walk up the stairs. Lauren helps him use both hands to roll Play-Doh. Alaina helps him profess his love for macaroni and cheese.

We have an All-Star team of cheerful and experienced therapists dedicated to helping him navigate the world. It has already changed his life, and it didn’t cost us a penny.

This is Early Intervention, a national program created in 1986 to help children under age 3 who have developmental delays and disabilities. In New York State, where we live, the program serves nearly 70,000 children each year who have conditions like autism, Down syndrome and vision impairment. Some children, like my son, have a mild disability, and others have more serious challenges.

Full article at the New York Times