Tag: physical therapist assistants

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

The More Things Change, the More They…Change: CMS Announcements Dominate Top PT in Motion News Stories for 2018

Looking back over 2018, it’s hard to overstate the magnitude of Medicare-related changes experienced by physical therapists (PTs), physical therapist assistants (PTAs), and their patients. It was a year that included the end of the hard cap on therapy services under Medicare and the announcement of the inclusion of qualifying PTs in its Quality Payment Program starting in 2019—a dramatic shift toward value-based payment. And did we mention the launch of new requirements for skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) beginning later in 2019?

While payment news is almost always of interest to PT in Motion News readers, keeping up with the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) was apparently top-of-mind in 2018, as Medicare-related stories dominated this year’s list of most-read News items.

Full story at APTA

Help Aging Communities ‘Go4Life’ in September

Physical therapists (PTs), physical therapist assistants (PTAs), students, and supporters of the profession shouldn’t wait until National Physical Therapy Month in October to spread the word about the importance of mobility and physical activity—September is Go4Life month, a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored campaign that provides plenty of opportunities to educate the public on the ways older Americans can stay healthy through maintaining or increasing endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility.

Strongly supported by APTA, Go4Life is an ongoing effort to connect the public and health care providers with information and resources related to healthy aging. In addition to information on how exercise improves health, the Go4Life website includes suggested exercises, workout videos, fitness tracking resources, and access to printed materials including infographics, posters, bookmarks, and postcards, all available for free. The program also offers a free “Speaker’s Toolkit” to help providers develop presentations to target audiences—available by emailing Go4Life@mail.nih.gov.

Full story at APTA

PT, PTA, Student Involvement in Special Olympics is Improving Health…and Changing Attitudes

Vicki Tilley, PT, and Donna Bainbridge, PT, ATC, EdD, wanted to make a difference in the lives of others by working with Special Olympics. Along the way, Special Olympics returned the favor.

“I have a different lens now,” Tilley said. “Being able to engage, explore, and interact with the ID [intellectual disabilities] population in a way that’s positive has changed the way I think about people in general, and about inclusion and access.”

“My experiences with Special Olympics have shaped my entire career path in practice, research, and programming,” Bainbridge added. “I have a better understanding of the health needs of individuals with ID, and what we as physical therapists can do to improve the lives and function of people with ID at all ages.”

As Special Olympics celebrates its 50th year, Tilley and Bainbridge are marking their 19th year with the program, and their 18th with “Healthy Athletes,” an initiative that brings health professionals and students from multiple disciplines to provide education, screenings, and other services to athletes. Both were instrumental in the creation of FUNfitness, the branch of Healthy Athletes responsible for screenings and education around balance, strength, flexibility, and aerobics fitness. FUNfitness is primarily performed by physical therapists (PTs), physical therapist assistants (PTAs), and students.

Full story at APTA

At the State Level, a Very Good Year for PTs and PTAs

With the dust just about settled around most state legislatures, APTA, its state chapters, and supporters are beginning to assess how the practice and payment landscape has changed at the state level for physical therapists, (PTs), physical therapist assistants (PTAs), and the patients they serve. The news is decidedly good.

“This has been an extremely busy year for physical therapy-related legislation in many states, and the hard work and collaborative efforts of chapters and APTA have paid off,” said Angela Shuman, director of state legislative affairs for APTA. “We have a lot to be proud of.”

Among the highest-profile wins is the steady expansion of states joining the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact (PTLC), the game-changing system that allows PTs and PTAs licensed in 1 state to obtain practice privileges in other participating states. MississippiMissouriNorth Dakota, and Tennessee have officially enacted the compact system. Other states have passed the necessary legislation and are preparing to flip the switch on the compact, with this year’s addition of IowaLouisianaNebraskaNew JerseyOklahomaSouth Carolina, and West Virginia bringing the total number of compact states to 21. A bill to adopt the compact is pending in Pennsylvania.

Full story at APTA

Survey: HIIT Tops the List of Fitness Trends for 2018

What’s the future of fitness? According to an international survey of exercise professionals, high intensity interval training (HIIT) will be the strongest trend in 2018, outpacing wearable technologies, which held the number 1 position in 2017. Group training, body weight training, and strength training are also on the list of top 10 trends expected to be strong this year, while interest in Exercise is Medicine and exercise and weight loss is expected to drop off.

The ratings are part of an annual review conducted by Health and Fitness Journal, published by the American College of Sports Medicine. Now in its 12th year, this year’s survey included responses from 4,133 exercise professionals from around the world. “Medical professionals”—the category that includes physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) as well as physicians, nurses, and occupational therapists—made up 4% of the responses.

Full story at APTA

Don’t Stop Believin’: Multistate Licensure Compact Set to Begin in 2018

The possibility that physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) could one day gain practice privileges in multiple states without having to obtain multiple state licenses is now a reality. This week, Washington signed on to the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact (PTLC), bringing the number of participating states to 10, the magic number of states needed to officially establish the system. Next up, actual implementation and an ongoing press for more states to join.

On April 25, Washington Gov Jan Inslee signed the bill that added Washington to Arizona, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, and Utah as states that have agreed to join a system that will allow PTs and PTAs to apply for privilege to practice in any of the participating states without having to be licensed in each state. It’s a milestone for the physical therapy profession that opens the door for increased mobility.

Full story of PTLC beginning in 2018 at APTA 

State Policy, Insurers Forums: The Future of Health Care – And Payment – Has Arrived. Are You Ready?

Topics may have ranged from the opioid abuse epidemic, to APTA’s physical therapy outcomes registry, to the role of physical therapy in population health, but throughout APTA’s recently held Insurers Forum and State Policy and Payment Forum, it wasn’t hard to identify the strong common thread woven through nearly every session:

Things are getting real.

Over and over, speakers reminded attendees that what used to be conjecture about the move toward value-based care—and particularly its ramifications for payment—is now happening, and that physical therapists (PTs), physical therapist assistants (PTAs), payers, managers, and state policy advocates need to pay attention.

Full story of value-based care at APTA

Study: ‘Safe Landing Strategies’ to Reduce Falls Injury Show Promise

National Falls Prevention Awareness Day, coming up on September 22, helps to focus attention on the importance of reducing the risk of falls and fall-related injuries. How can physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) help patients develop ways to react if and when those falls occur? One study suggests the use of “safe landing strategies” including elbow flexion, squatting, and a “martial arts roll” may significantly reduce body impact, though more testing needs to be done.

In a study e-published ahead of print in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, authors reviewed results of 13 studies involving 219 participants who were instructed to react to a fall by employing 1 of 7 landing strategies: squatting during a backwards fall, slightly flexing the elbow during a forward fall, and reacting to a side fall by either rotating forward, stepping sideways, relaxing the muscles, rolling away from the impact point (martial arts roll), and “martial arts slapping,” which involves slapping the falling side arm on the ground after a martial arts roll. Researchers then measured fall velocity and impact force in various body areas such as the hips and compared these with forces recorded in falls that did not employ these strategies.

Full story of safe landing strategies and fall injuries at APTA

World Physical Therapy Day Focuses on ‘Adding Life to Years’

September 8 is World Physical Therapy Day, and there’s still time in this digitally connected world to plan to help your colleagues around the globe raise awareness of the benefits of physical therapy.

This year’s theme, “Add Life to Years,” emphasizes that physical therapists and physical therapist assistants can help older people to be independent, improve their quality of life, and reduce health care costs.

Full story of World Physical Therapy Day at APTA