Category: Physical Therapy

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

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

Visit Flex for Physical Therapist continuing education units and more

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

25 OF THE MOST WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE BEACHES IN THE WORLD

There is a broad range of wheelchair accessible beaches throughout the world, from a variety within the United States to internationally in some of the most popular vacation destinations. Finding a beautiful beach to visit is fairly easy depending on where you’d like to travel, but finding information about the accessibility can be difficult.

Many beaches offer boardwalks, ramps, and assistive equipment to help wheelchair users enjoy the sand and shore. These top 25 beaches are some of the most wheelchair accessible beaches in the world and are perfect for a vacation destination because of their wheelchair accessibility.

There are several amazing beaches along the coasts of the United States, and many of these beaches are wheelchair accessible, offering a destination that everyone can enjoy. The main accessibility features of these beaches include wider paved paths and handicap parking, while some may have accessibility equipment, ramps, and boardwalks.

Full article at Curb Free with Corey Lee

CMS Coding Reversal Will Apply to Claims Made Beginning January 1, 2020

Details are still emerging around exactly how CMS intends to walk back a decision to change coding methodologies that prevented PTs from billing an evaluation performed on the same day as therapeutic activities and/or group therapy activities. But we know a little more now: namely, that the decision is retroactive to January 1 of this year, the date when the short-lived system was set in place.

APTA pressed CMS for the logistics of how its do-over would be worked out as soon as its decision was announced on January 24. On January 28, CMS informed the association that while the agency is still working on its messaging to the Medicare administrative contractors, or MACs, the reversal will be extended to claims made from January 1, 2020, on.

Full article at APTA

Flex CEUs: Older Course Removal

Due to the age of the material, Flex CEUs will be removing the following courses from our library on 02/27/2020. After this date you will no longer be able to take these courses for CE credit.

Cervical Spine Injury Medical Treatment Guidelines

Hydrotherapy Outcome Measures for People with Arthritis

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Doctors average 16 minutes on the computer for every patient

For each patient they see, doctors spend about 16 minutes using electronic health records, a U.S. study finds.

Researchers examined approximately 100 million patient encounters with about 155,000 physicians from 417 health systems. They collected data on every keystroke, mouse click and second of time spent on various tasks in electronic health records (EHR) throughout 2018.

Across all specialties, physicians spent the most time in EHR doing chart review, which accounted for about 33% of total time using the records and an average of about 5 minutes and 22 seconds per patient. They spent about 24% of EHR time on documentation, averaging 3 minutes and 51 seconds per patient, and 17% of EHR time ordering things like lab tests, for an average of 2 minutes and 42 seconds.

Full article at Reuters

Humana Adopts PTA Coding System, Anticipates Payment Differential Beginning in 2022

Commercial health insurance giant Humana has announced that it’s falling in line with rules from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services designed to establish an 85% payment differential for therapy services delivered “in whole or in part” by a PTA or occupational therapy assistant. Consistent with CMS, Humana is requiring use of code modifiers in 2020, with no changes to payment until 2022.

The new system, which establishes a code modifier (“CQ” for PTAs and “CO” for OTAs) began on January 1 for Medicare Part B payments. The new approach was triggered by federal law that mandated the creation of a way to denote the volume of physical therapy and occupational therapy services delivered by PTAs or OTAs, and then create a payment differential for those services. In its announcement, Humana states that its policy will mirror the CMS rule, “as applicable in the Federal Register and relevant CMS guidance.” Like CMS, Humana also is requiring the modifier on all applicable claims submitted for services delivered beginning January 1, 2020.

Full article at APTA

Patients with newly diagnosed musculoskeletal pain are prescribed opioids more often than recommended

During their first physician visit, patients experiencing newly diagnosed chronic musculoskeletal pain are prescribed opioids more often than physical therapy, counseling, and other nonpharmacologic approaches, according to a new study published in the Journal of Pain. The use of opioids over other approaches stands in contrast with clinical recommendations for the use of nonopioid pain approaches and nonpharmacologic approaches. The study included authors from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), part of the National Institutes of Health; the University of Montreal; and McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

“Particularly when the patient is experiencing pain that may become chronic, that first clinical encounter can set the course for patient care moving forward,” said Helene Langevin, M.D., director of NCCIH. “This study was designed to assess the ways in which real-world practice compares and contrasts with practice guidelines for these initial patient encounters.”

Full article at National Institute of Health

Professional Physical Therapy Expands In-Network Coverage Area with BlueCross BlueShield (Empire)

Professional Physical Therapy, a leading provider of outpatient physical therapy and rehabilitation services in the Northeast, announces today that it has expanded its in-network coverage area with Empire BlueCross BlueShield (Empire) to include more of their convenient locations with additional credentialed providers.

Empire is the one of the largest insurance providers in New York State, and approximately four million residents as well as 38,000 business, union, and small employers are insured by Empire. With this, Professional Physical Therapy is able to more closely meet the needs of these individuals, and provide them with more convenient access to superior services including physical, occupational, and hand therapy treatment.

Full article at Professional Physical Therapy