Posts tagged ‘pt’

September 19, 2011

Read up on PT assessment exceptions

CMS has answered issues with single therapy visits …

Question: Can you please clarify this for me? If we are only doing physical therapy (PT) and the 30-day re-evaluation not only falls on the 12 visit and on a Friday and then come Monday is the 13 visit, do I have to send out the PT for another re-evaluation? We are concerned that a 30-day reassessment conducted on the 12th PT visit in single therapy cases will not suffice to meet the 13th therapy visit assessment. If it doesn’t meet requirements, there would be a large financial impact based on non-coverage of subsequent PT visits.

CMS Response: You are correct that for a single therapy case, the therapist must do the reassessment visit exactly on the 13th and 19th visits, unless the rural or documented circumstances outside the control of the therapist exceptions apply as stated in 42 CFR 409.44(C)(2)(i)(C). If neither exception applies, the PT would need to do the reassessment on the 13th visit as required by the regulations.

May 16, 2011

The first visit to the home is the ROC

Some agencies are under the impression that the first visit after the patient returns from an inpatient facility stay has to be the ROC assessment and they believe that any visit prior to the ROC assessment cannot be billed. Both are misunderstandings. The first visit by anyone by your agency, billable or non-billable, is the ROC visit and so the date of that visit is placed in M0032. The ROC assessment has to be completed within 48 hours of return home.

Here is the information from OASIS Q&As

[Q&A ADDED & EDITED 9/09; Previously CMS OCCB 01/09 Q&A #5]

Q15.1. My patient was released from the hospital and needed an injection that evening. The case manager was unavailable and planned to resume care the following day. Could the on call nurse visit and give the injection before the resumption of care assessment is done? Is there a time frame in which care (by an LPN or others) can be provided prior to the completion of the ROC assessment?

A15.1. There are no federal regulatory requirements that prevent an LPN from making the first visit to the patient when resuming care after an inpatient facility stay, but there must be physician orders for the services/treatments provided during that visit. It is not required that the ROC comprehensive assessment be completed on the first visit following the patient’s return home. OASIS guidance states that the Resumption of Care comprehensive assessment must be completed within 2 calendar days after the patient’s return from the inpatient facility. The clinician that completes the ROC comprehensive assessment must be an RN, PT, OT or SLP.

In the case of an unknown hospitalization, a LPN/LVN, aide, or PTA etc makes a regularly scheduled visit and finds that the patient has had a hospitalization meeting the criteria for transfer, calls the agency and reports the hospitalization. The orders you have for the episode are still valid orders after an inpatient admission, so if that regularly scheduled visit has orders that visit is still billable. That visit date is also the date placed in M0032. The qualified clinician has 2 days from the point of acquiring the knowledge of the hospitalization to complete the transfer and the ROC assessments. M0090 is the date the assessment was actually completed.

April 11, 2011

PT scope of practice is probably larger than you think

I often hear from clinicians frustrated that PTs won’t do this or that … maybe for good reasons, and maybe not. And I hear from PTs who just don’t know what their scope of work should be.

If you want to know the PT scope of practice, just go to the Benefit Policy Manual. In Chapter 7 you will find the General Principles Governing Reasonable and Necessary Physical Therapy, Speech-Language Pathology Services, and Occupational Therapy sections in 40.2.1-40.2.4.3 of the Benefit Policy Manual.

CMS provides examples of the type of work in the scope of practice, including assessment, wound care, teaching, and other issues.

July 19, 2010

CMS wants to clarify therapy plans and skilled service roles

CMS is proposing major changes in therapy qualifications, documentation and “effectiveness” of therapy in the 2011 proposed HHPPS rule. I will cover the main points of the therapy requirements over several posts.

Establishing plans and clarifying skilled service roles

In the 2011 proposed  HHPPS rule, CMS works to clarify  “accepted practice” and “effective treatment” so HHAs know the agency’s expectations regarding PT, SLP, and OT. This section of changes deals with assessment documentation and reassessment requirements for therapists and assistants.

This proposal language specifically also calls out that therapy is NOT reasonable and necessary if the patient’s function is temporarily lost and would be regained as a patient’s health improves (watch out, those of you who have been using generalized weakness as a code to “justify” therapy). It also looks at the need for assistants vs. therapists in maintenance plans and with regard to setting up plans.

Current language for §409.44(c)(2)(iii) links therapy and reasonable improvements in the patient’s condition or a safety management maintenance program. The current language is:

(iii) There must be an expectation that the beneficiary’s condition will improve materially in a reasonable (and generally predictable) period of time based on the physician’s assessment of the beneficiary’s restoration potential and unique medical condition, or the services must be necessary to establish a safe and effective maintenance program required in connection with a specific disease, or the kills of a therapist must be necessary to perform a safe and effective maintenance program. If the services are for the establishment of a maintenance program, they may include the design of the program, the instruction of the beneficiary, family, or home health aides, and the necessary infrequent re-evaluations of the beneficiary and the program to the degree that the specialized knowledge and judgment of a physical therapist, speech-language pathologist, or occupational therapist is required.”

Regarding the first sentence, in the proposed rule, CMS would clarify the concept of rehabilitative therapy to include “recovery or improvement in function and, when possible, restoration to a previous level of health and well-being.”  

… “We are proposing to clarify the regulatory text so that if an individual’s expected rehabilitation potential would be insignificant in relation to the extent and duration of therapy services required to achieve such potential, therapy would not be considered reasonable and necessary, and therefore would not be covered as rehabilitative therapy services.”

CMS also proposes to clarify the regulatory text to describe that therapy is covered as rehabilitative therapy when the skills of a therapist are necessary to safely and effectively furnish or supervise a recognized therapy service whose goal is improvement of an impairment or functional limitation.

Under proposals, therapy would not be covered where a patient suffered a “transient and easily reversible loss or reduction of function (e.g., temporary weakness which may follow a brief period of bed rest following surgery) which could reasonably be expected to improve spontaneously as the patient gradually resumes normal activities.”   Also, if at any point in an episode treatment is not rehabilitative or legitimately require a qualified service, therapy ceases to be covered.

§409.44(c)(2)(iii) currently covers OT, PT or SLP if the services are “necessary to establish a safe and effective maintenance program required in connection with a specific disease.” CMS wants to add text stating that the specialized skill of a therapist is required to develop a maintenance plan. That plan should include patient, family and caregiver training, and re-evaluation plans. Maintenance plans should be included where applicable.

The proposal also talks about maintenance in a skilled nursing case: “We propose that when a patient qualifies for Medicare’s home health benefit based on an intermittent skilled nursing need, a qualified therapist may develop a maintenance program to maintain functional status or to prevent decline in function, at any point in the episode.  The services of a qualified therapist would not be necessary to carry out a maintenance program, and would not be covered under ordinary circumstances.  The patient could perform such a program independently or with the assistance of unskilled personnel or family members.”

However, if carrying out a maintenance plan required complex therapy procedures, “to be delivered by the therapist himself/herself (and not an assistant) in order to provide both a safe and effective maintenance program and to ensure patient safety, those reasonable and necessary services would be covered, even if the skills of a therapist were not ordinarily needed to carry out the activities performed as part of the maintenance program.

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Want to see the full document with all the proposals?

July 1, 2010

Can we enter therapy frequency at the start of an episode?

Looking at physical therapy … As long as the initial evaluation is signed by the physician, the evaluation shows your orders for the entire episode. So, you can put in the frequency for the episode.

A re-evaluation in 30 days is required by state law only if the services are provided by a PTA.

Remember that the frequency or orders can change, as well, because of your patient’s condition, so always reflect the patient’s status and orders