As APTA continues to advocate for the maintenance of essential health benefits (EHBs) in insurance offered through Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces, the association and other stakeholders are facing another potential challenge to patient access to care: private insurer short-term, temporary health plans that can skirt many ACA requirements around EHBs, preexisting conditions, and continued coverage.
Earlier this month, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) adopted a final rule on the short-term plans, allowing the policies to provide 1 year of coverage, renewable for up to 3 years. Previously, the plans could only be used for a maximum of 3 months.
The plans are intended to offer a cheaper insurance alternative than plans available through the ACA (although most individuals who purchase insurance through the ACA marketplaces receive subsidies that lower the out-of-pocket costs). But they are not required to comply with many of the consumer protections included in ACA plans. Instead, the plans are able to deny coverage of a preexisting condition, drop coverage should a customer’s health status change, and refuse coverage for services such as mental health, prescription drugs—and, possibly, physical therapy.
Tennis elbow is also known as lateral epicondylitis. It occurs when a person strains the tendons in their forearm. People can usually treat tennis elbow at home with rest and over-the-counter medication. Doing specific exercises can also help ease the pain and prevent reoccurrence.
We describe eight exercises to help strengthen muscles in the forearm and prevent tennis elbow from coming back. We also cover causes and symptoms, home treatment, prevention, and when to see a doctor.
Before trying these exercises, wait for any swelling to go down. It is also a good idea to check with a doctor or a physical or occupational therapist first.
Margaret Daffodil Graham tries to live a healthy life, particularly since she has a health issue that requires constant attention. Like more than 100 million other Americans, the 74-year-old from Winston-Salem, N.C., has high blood pressure, and she has been taking medication to control it since she was in her 30s. So when she read that her nearby hospital, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, was looking for people with hypertension to volunteer for a study, she quickly signed up, knowing the doctors would monitor her blood pressure more intensively and hopefully lower her risk of developing heart disease and stroke.
What Graham didn’t realize was that by joining the trial, she wouldn’t just be benefiting her heart. The study, called SPRINT MIND, was designed to test whether aggressively lowering blood pressure would have an effect on people’s risk of cognitive decline, including symptoms of dementia related to Alzheimer’s disease.
Authors of a new study on inpatient and skilled nursing facility (SNF) rehabilitation say that when it comes to patients’ own opinions of their progress, an estimated 1 in 3 Medicare beneficiaries are likely to report experiencing no improvement in functioning while they were receiving rehabilitation in those settings. And those rates can trend higher depending on certain demographic and health-related variables.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, analyzes survey responses from 479 Medicare beneficiaries who received inpatient or SNF rehabilitation between 2015 and 2016. Data were drawn from the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS), with respondents comprising a nationally representative sample of the Medicare population.
To improve communication about pain between patients and physicians, a team led by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC has developed a mobile application called “Painimation” that has the potential to assess and monitor pain better than any previously used measurement tools. Results of the clinical trial were published today in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.
“Currently, our only available tools for patients to communicate their pain is to either give them 0 to 10 scales or a selection of words and phrases to describe their pain, methods that have been used for more than 50 years,” said lead author Charles Jonassaint, Ph.D., M.H.Sc., assistant professor of medicine, social work and clinical and translational science. “Many pain patients will say their pain can’t be measured on the 0-to-10 scale and that it is too challenging to describe their pain using words. As a result, their pain is misunderstood and patients in pain may be prescribed more opioids without always knowing whether they are needed or if they are working.”
Painimation is an electronic assessment tool that uses animations to assess pain quality, type and location. With this app, patients are first provided with a selection of animations that they can use to describe the severity of their pain. These animations can then be increased or decreased in speed, color saturation, focus and size to accurately match their pain experience. The app also provides users with the opportunity to label their pain on a human body, allowing them to identify where and how much of their body is affected by pain.
We recently finished another round of our increasingly popular Volunteer Orientation Course. As part of the final assignment members were tasked to write an original piece of work to share with the profession, the contributions were of the highest quality. Below is the great piece of work written by Lauren Lopez.
Goal setting. SMART goals. Client-centred goals. Goal setting and the best way to do it are hot topics in rehabilitation. A quick search through rehabilitation literature reveals a growing body of literature dedicated to the methods and evidence for goal setting with clients during rehabilitation. There is no consensus on a gold standard for a method of goal setting but it is widely held that it is a priority for guiding rehabilitation interventions toward achievable and meaningful outcomes. In the absence of a gold standard there are many research reports documenting health professionals’ opinions on and approaches to goal setting we can refer to. But what about our clients’ perspectives?
Regular physical activity may help older women increase their mobility, but muscle strength and endurance are likely to succumb to the effects of frailty if they haven’t also been doing resistance training.
That is according to the findings of a cross-sectional study led by the University at Buffalo and published in the journal Physical & Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics.
The study underscores the need for older women to build up muscle strength early in the aging process to help ward off the effects of aging, say the study’s lead authors Machiko Tomita, clinical professor, and Nadine Fisher, clinical associate professor, both in the Department of Rehabilitation Science in UB’s School of Public Health and Health Professions.
As technology and information sharing evolves at a rapid pace, it becomes harder to keep up with criminals and scammers—even if you are an experienced professional. Last year, a staggering 83% of physicians said they had experienced some form of cyberattack, according to an American Medical Association report. What kind of scams are out there? What should you be wary of? What new threats are emerging?
A feature in this month’s PT in Motion magazine describes common cybercrimes and scams, including data breaches, phishing, and ransomware. Author Katherine Malmo reports that cyberattacks happen to more organizations than we might think, since people don’t want to share their experiences. Robert Latz, PT, DPT, told PT in Motion, “The question is less if there will be a breach and more what to do when the breach happens.”
The final 2019 rules for skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs) are substantially similar to what the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) proposed in the spring, but that’s not to say physical therapists (PTs) should assume it’s a “same rule, different year” situation.
In fact, the situation is far from a “same as usual” scenario—at least for PTs in SNF settings, who will be facing a dramatic change in how payment is determined.
The new rules, set to go into effect in October of this year, include increases in payment of 2.4% for SNFS and 0.9% for IRFs, but the heart of the changes have less to do with payment increases and more to do with how payment will be determined and what needs to be reported. For PTs in IRFs, the reporting process could become a bit less burdensome, while PTs in SNFS will need to get up to speed with an entirely new payment system that does away with the Resource Utilization Groups Version IV (RUG-IV) process.
For people considering hip or knee replacement surgery, it’s something they want — and need — to know.
In the US alone, surgeons perform more than 600,000 knee replacements and about 330,000 hip replacements each year. These operations can provide a major improvement in quality of life and function for those with severe arthritis. On the other hand, there are risks associated with the operation (as is true for any major surgery), there is a long road to recovery even when all goes well, and these operations aren’t cheap. For knee replacement surgery alone, an estimated $9 billion or more is spent each year in the US (although economic analyses suggest the surgery may actually be cost-saving over the long run).
So, if the first joint replacement is unsuccessful for some reason (such as infection or loosening), a second (or even third) operation may be necessary. And that’s a big deal, especially since “revision surgery” is technically more difficult, recovery can take longer, and success rates may be lower than first operations.