2009 Physical Therapist Productivity Report

August 28, 2009 · Posted in Industry News · Comment 

Now available from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) for its members is the 2009 Physical Therapist Productivity Summary Report.  The report provides actual data on the number of patients seen by PTs versus previous reports on productivity dealing with “expectations” of patients seen.

Therapists Now Required to Notify Individuals of Health Information Breaches

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a rule requiring that individuals be notified of breaches of their health information. 

These “breach notification” regulations implement provisions of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, passed as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

The regulations, developed by the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR), require health care providers and other HIPAA covered entities to promptly notify affected individuals of a breach, as well as the HHS Secretary and the media in cases where a breach affects more than 500 individuals.  Breaches affecting fewer than 500 individuals will be reported to the HHS Secretary on an annual basis. The regulations also require business associates of covered entities to notify the covered entity of breaches at or by the business associate. 

The regulations were developed after considering public comment received in response to an April 2009 request for information and after close consultation with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which has issued companion breach notification regulations that apply to vendors of personal health records and certain others not covered by HIPAA.

To determine when information is “unsecured” and notification is required by the HHS and FTC rules, HHS is also issuing in the same document as the regulations an update to its guidance specifying encryption and destruction as the technologies and methodologies that render protected health information unusable, unreadable, or indecipherable to unauthorized individuals.  Entities subject to the HHS and FTC regulations that secure health information as specified by the guidance through encryption or destruction are relieved from having to notify in the event of a breach of such information.  This guidance will be updated annually.

The HHS interim final regulations are effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register and include a 60-day public comment period.  For more information, visit the HHS Office for Civil Rights web site at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/

No Final Definition of EHR Meaningful Use until Spring of 2010

We’ve been anxiously awaiting a final definition for “meaningful use” of electronic health records (EHR) to determine which hospitals and providers will be eligible for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  However, in a press conference on August 20th, Dr. David Blumenthal, the national coordinator for health information technology, predicted that the final definition will not be available until the middle or end of spring in 2010.  A preliminary definition of “meaningful use” is scheduled to be issued by the end of 2009 with a 60-day comment period.

Occupational Therapy Documentation Software

August 14, 2009 · Posted in occupational therapy · Comment 

Occupational therapists, or OTs, focus on enabling people to participate in everyday activities so that they can live life to the fullest.  When it comes to building the software that OTs use to document care, we want to ensure that they’re able to perform their job to the fullest.  That’s why we’ve made our occupational therapy workflow software rich with features for OTs.

In addition to administrative and financial features like patient registration, referral management, insurance authorization, cross-discipline schedule, charges, reporting/analytics and outcomes — we offer the following occupational therapy documentation features:

  • OT Evaluations.  Standard occupational therapy (OT) evaluation forms library (i.e., hand, work conditioning, neurological). 
  • OT Patient Education.  Print on-demand patient handouts (i.e., home programs). 
  • Patient Arrival Notification.  OT may receive a page on his/her beeper to be notified when a patient has checked in.
  • Authorizations.  Monitor authorized visits for OT evaluation and follow-up visits.
  • Compliance.  Compliance with JCAHO, cARF, HIPAA and other rehabilitation professional standards.  Ensure compliance with Medicare CCI edits, modifiers and time tracking during documentation of care.

For more information about how Chart Links Rehab Software supports the documentation of care of occupational therapists, visit our website.

Federal Trade Commission Delays Red Flag Rules

August 13, 2009 · Posted in Industry News · Comment 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says that it will further delay enforcement of the “Red Flag” rules until November 1.  The rules were to go into effect August 1. 

Therapists who provide services to patients without requiring those patients to pay in full at the time of service will need to comply with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Red Flag rules. 

Red Flag rules require the development of a written Identity Theft Prevention Program. Medical identity theft refers to situations when someone uses a person’s name and other parts of their identity, such as insurance information, without the person’s knowledge or consent to obtain medical services or goods.

For more information and resources, go to APTA‘s Identity Theft Web page or visit our blog post from July.