New Details Emerge on Delivery of Remote Services by Outpatient Department PTs and PTAs in Medicare

New Details Emerge on Delivery of Remote Services by Outpatient Department PTs and PTAs in Medicare

In early May, PT in Motion News reported about CMS guidance on a way for hospital outpatient department PTs and PTAs to provide remote care delivery to Medicare beneficiaries. More details have surfaced since then.

The original story is still worth a read, because it lays out the basics of how hospitals can use a patient’s address as a “temporary expansion location.” But since publication, additional information has come to light:

If the department is “non-excepted”: The CMS interim final rule doesn’t change the status of any non-excepted off-campus departments — they are still considered to be non-excepted during the COVID-19 public health emergency, even if they relocate. That means these non-excepted departments will continue to be paid the physician fee schedule rate. It also means they don’t need to apply for the relocation approval outlined in the earlier PT in Motion News story.

Full article at APTA

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PTJ Virtual Issue Puts COVID Research and Perspectives on the Fast-Track

The COVID-19 pandemic demands that PTs, PTAs, and other rehabilitation professionals stay on top of what’s being learned about the disease and how the role of physical therapy is evolving because of it. PTJ, APTA’s scientific journal, is doing its part to deliver the latest research with minimal delays. In fact, says PTJ editor-in-chief Alan Jette, PT, PhD, FAPTA, the journal’s latest project is offering information in ways that are about as “real-time” as you can get.

Now available on the PTJ website: the PTJ COVID-19 Virtual Issue, a platform that allows the journal to share its latest COVID-19-related research and perspectives at a rate not possible through the normal PTJ publication process. The journal is free to members, and the virtual issue contains open-access work, free to everyone.

Full article at APTA

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APTA Advisory: Humana Adopts Telehealth for PTs, OTs, SLPs

Another major commercial payer has acknowledged the value of telehealth provided by PTs: this time, it’s insurance giant Humana, which is now reimbursing PTs for services delivered via real-time video-based telehealth. Humana is among the last large national payers to make the shift.

In a May 15 update, Humana announced that it has expanded its temporary telehealth provisions to include a wider range of providers — PTs, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists among them. The expansion applies to both participating/in-network providers and specialty providers, so long as the services don’t violate state laws and regulations.

Similar to CMS, Humana previously had adopted many of the CPT codes commonly used by therapists as billable through telehealth, but didn’t include PTs, OTs, and SLPs among the providers able to bill for telehealth services using the codes. That’s no longer the case — even for Medicare — and PTs are now able to bill for telehealth services.

Full article at APTA

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

Sourcing PPE, Spotting Scams, and Evaluating Need: Six Resources

As the COVID-19 pandemic wears on, providers continue to struggle with sourcing the personal protective equipment they need. And now there’s an increasing danger that some of the PPE being offered for sale is counterfeit — nearly identical to the real thing but not up to performance standards. On top of that, limited supplies of PPE mean that providers have to be well-versed in the usage life of various pieces of equipment. In other words, when it comes to use of PPE, it can be easier said than done.

Note: there’s been some confusion about where PTs and PTAs stand in terms of establishing Amazon Business accounts to purchase PPE (when available) through the mega-retailer. Here’s where things stand: Currently PTs and PTAs can sign up for an Amazon Business account; however they are not yet included in the “Medical Professionals” category for supply ordering. APTA is working to change this Amazon policy.

Full article at APTA

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

First Major Insurer Adopts a Permanent Telehealth Benefit

BCBS of Tennessee will now include telehealth services — including telehealth provided by PTs — among benefits in place even after the COVID-19 health emergency ends.

An isolated change or a glimpse into the post-COVID health care environment? BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee announced that is making coverage of in-network telehealth service a permanent part of its benefit packages, including telehealth delivered by PTs. The change is the first time a major insurer has extended telehealth coverage beyond the length of the current public health emergency.

According to a press release from BCBS Tennessee, the expansion began in March, when it began covering telephone and video visits with in-network primary care providers, specialists, and behavioral health providers. That coverage was later extended to PTs, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists.

Full article at APTA

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

Tight glutes: Stretches and prevention

The glutes are muscles that connect the lower back to the legs. Tightness in this area can cause pain and difficulty moving, but certain stretches can help.

The glutes consist of three muscles: the gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, and the gluteus maximus. These support lower body movement.

Keep reading to learn how these muscles can tighten and how to relieve and prevent the issue.

The glutes are muscles in the buttocks. They stretch between the lower back and the thighs and help with movements such as walking, climbing stairs, and squatting.

If the glutes become tight or injured, it can lead to pain in several areas of the body.

Full article at Medical News Today

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Rehabilitation exercises for a sprained ankle

While sprained ankles need time to heal, it is also important to strengthen the muscles around the ankle to help it recover and prevent further sprains. For minor or moderate sprains, most people can start exercising their sprained ankle after a few days of rest.

Simple motion exercises and strength training are essential to help the ankle heal properly. It is also important to tailor any other workouts around the sprained ankle to avoid reinjury or overworking the ankle.

This article will explore examples of exercises a person can do to rehabilitate a sprained ankle.

Full article at Medical News Today

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

Soft robotic exosuit improves biomechanical gait functions in stroke patients

Stroke is the leading cause of serious long-term disability in the US with approximately 17 million individuals experiencing it each year. About 8 out of 10 stroke survivors suffer from “hemiparesis”, a paralysis that typically impacts the limbs and facial muscles on one side of their bodies, and often causes severe difficulties walking, a loss of balance with an increased risk of falling, as well as muscle fatigue that quickly sets in during exertions. Oftentimes, these impairments also make it impossible for them to perform basic everyday activities.

To allow stroke patients to recover, many rehabilitation centers have looked to robotic exoskeletons. But although there are now a range of exciting devices that are enabling people to walk again who initially were utterly unable to do so, there remains significant active research trying to understand how to best apply wearable robotics for rehabilitation after stroke. Despite the promise, recent clinical practice guidelines now even recommend against the use of robotic therapies when the goal is to improve walking speed or distance.

Full article at News Medical

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New preclinical study shows promise for treating necrotizing enterocolitis

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a rare inflammatory bowel disease, primarily affects premature infants and is a leading cause of death in the smallest and sickest of these patients. The exact cause remains unclear, and there is no effective treatment.

No test can definitively diagnose the devastating condition early, so infants with suspected NEC are carefully monitored and administered supportive care, such as IV fluids and nutrition, and antibiotics to fight infection caused by bacteria invading the gut wall. Surgery must be done to excise damaged intestinal tissue if the condition worsens.

A new preclinical study by researchers at the University of South Florida Health (USF Health) Morsani College of Medicine and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine offers promise of a specific treatment for NEC, one of the most challenging diseases confronting neonatologists and pediatric surgeons.

Full article at News Medical

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Your Guide to Free COVID-19 Webinars and Facebook Live Recordings From APTA and Others

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the physical therapy profession on several fronts — not just in terms of providing needed care, but in keeping up with continually evolving practice, payment, health care delivery, and advocacy issues.

As the pandemic began taking hold across the country, APTA and its components were there with timely, insightful webinars and Facebook Live events that connect viewers with peers and experts. We’ve been learning from and listening to each other in historic and important ways, and leveraging the power of our community, together.

The result: a lot of very relevant content in a very short amount of time, which means it’s entirely possible that you may have missed something of interest along the way. Fortunately, nearly everything has been recorded. Here’s a rundown of most of what’s available to date — all free to members and nonmembers.

Full article at APTA

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