In the News

HHS Comments to CMS re: Patients Over Paperwork

Posted: January 21, 2020

In collaboration with APTA and our Government Affairs Committee (GAC), the Home Health Section generated and submitted the letter below to the CMS. It is in response to their request for additional input and recommendations regarding elimination of specific Medicare regulations that require more stringent supervision than existing state scope of practice laws, or that limit health professionals from practicing at the top of their license. 

Members: please click the link to login and view the comments.

Click here to View Comments!

 

Technical Expert Panel Nominations

Posted: January 6, 2020

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is seeking nominees to serve on 2 different technical expert panels that are of relevance to the physical therapy profession:

1. Technical expert panel to develop days at home quality measure
2. Technical expert panel to develop functional outcome quality measures for the home health setting

APTA would like to nominate members to serve on these TEPs. Members can find information about both opportunities, including the time commitment, by clicking on each TEP above and logging in to view details. Please contact the Director of Regulatory Affairs, Kara Gainer ([email protected]), as soon as possible if you or someone you know would to be considered for nomination for either TEP. 

 

 

The CMS is Seeking Feedback

Posted: January 6, 2020

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it is seeking additional feedback regarding elimination of Medicare regulations that require stricter supervision compared to state scope of practice laws, or that limit health professionals from practicing at the top of their license.

CMS is seeking this feedback in response to the President’s Executive Order (EO) on Protecting and Improving Medicare for our Nation’s Seniors. The EO directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to propose reforms to the Medicare program, including changes that eliminate supervision and licensure requirements of the program that are “more stringent than other applicable federal or state laws.” CMS emphasized that these requirements limit healthcare professionals.  

CMS also continues to welcome input on ways in which CMS can reduce unnecessary burden, increase efficiencies, and improve the beneficiary experience. I have attached the press release for more information.

We are encouraging all physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and physical therapy students to send their thoughts and comments to APTA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs, Kara Gainer, at [email protected] by Friday, January 10, 2020 so that we may incorporate such feedback into APTA’s comment letter to CMS.

In addition, in the coming days, APTA will be making available a unique template letter on APTA’s Regulatory Take Action webpage for physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and physical therapy students to use to submit their own comments. The agency has requested responses by January 17, 2020.

Should you have any questions, please contact the Director of Regulatory Affairs, Kara Gainer at [email protected].

 

 

APTA, AOTA, ASHA: New Home Health Payment System No Reason to Compromise Care

As a new Medicare Part A payment model for home health agencies (HHAs) gets set to launch January 1, APTA and two other provider organizations are urging HHAs to keep patient access to needed care front-and-center, and not react to the new system with "unnecessary staffing changes."

In a joint statement by APTA, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the organizations state:

"APTA, AOTA, and ASHA are aware of the potential for clinicians and assistants to be negatively impacted by the reactions of some home health agencies when implementing Medicare’s Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM) on January 1, 2020. Unnecessary staffing changes could affect the clinicians’ practice patterns and their ability to exercise clinical judgment, as well as patients’ access to care — ultimately damaging the quality of therapy provided by home health agencies. Our organizations continue ongoing dialogue with CMS and home health agencies to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries continue receiving the skilled therapy they need. APTA, AOTA, and ASHA are committed to advocating on behalf of our professions and the people they treat."

The statement summarizes one of the central points APTA, AOTA, and ASHA have been driving home since PDGM was finalized for implementation on January 1, 2020: that PDGM changes nothing in terms of CMS' requirements that HHAs provide high-quality reasonable and necessary rehabilitation services and that clinicians use clinical judgment in determining appropriate frequency, duration, and modality of services.

As the new system is implemented, the association will be gathering on-the-ground information from physical therapists and physical therapist assistants on how HHAs are responding, and will share those reports with CMS. CMS will also be tracking utilization and patient outcomes under PDGM to ensure appropriate provision of therapy. If you have experiences to share related to implementation of PDGM (or the SNF PDPM), reach out to [email protected].

Learn the basics of how you can manage the PDGM in this "Compliance Matters" column published in PT in Motion magazine. Need more information? APTA has created an entire PDGM webpage with multiple resources to help you understand and make the case for your value in the system.

https://www.apta.org/PTinMotion/News/2019/12/20/PDGMJointStatement/

 

APTA's Latest 'Quarterly Report' Available Electronically Now

Posted: Dec. 17, 2019

The latest print issue -- Vol. 54 No. 4 -- of the APTA Home Health Quarterly Report is on its way to section members, but members can read it now on the section's new Quarterly Report Library page and selecting either the E-Reader or Download option (you must be signed in as a member). Not a member? Join us!

If you use the E-Reader, try using the handy new electronic table of contents. Just click the third button from the left on the control panel, and the table of contents appears. 

 

 
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