National Physical Therapy Month to Focus on Obesity

September 30, 2009 · Posted in Industry News, physical therapy · Comment 

According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), October is National Physical Therapy Month and its focus is on our national obesity epidemic. 

For the nearly 100 million Americans who are overweight or obese, physical activity must be a crucial component to weight loss and better health.  According to a recent study conducted by the Trust for America’s Health, a research group that focuses on disease prevention, obesity rates continued their climb in 31 states last year. Health officials say the latest state rankings provide evidence that the nation has a public health crisis on its hands.  Last year, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cited evidence that found that more than 22 percent of Americans did not engage in any physical activity in the previous month.

Physical therapists develop fitness plans for both adults and children that promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. For those who are overweight or obese, physical therapists balance the progression of the exercise prescription with the need for joint protection and safety during exercise.

Consumers can find information about National Physical Therapy Month, whose theme is “Physical Therapy: The Science of Healing. The Art of Caring,” by visiting APTA’s newly designed and easily navigable Web page for the month-long celebration at http://www.apta.org/nptm.

Physical therapists are health care professionals who diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to the elderly, who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. PTs examine each individual and develop a plan of care using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. Physical therapists also work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.

The American Physical Therapy Association (http://www.apta.org) is a national organization representing 70,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students nationwide. Its goal is to foster advancements in physical therapist education, practice, and research. Consumers can access “Find a PT” to find a physical therapist in their area, as well as physical therapy news and information at http:// www.apta.org/consumer.

Providence Speech and Hearing Center Selects Chart Links Rehabilitation Software for 25 Therapists

September 29, 2009 · Posted in audiology, Documentation, occupational therapy, Speech Therapy, Workflow · Comment 

Chart Links, a provider of rehabilitation workflow management software, announces the selection of its electronic therapy documentation and scheduling system by a team of 25 audiologists, speech therapists and pediatric occupational therapists at Providence Speech and Hearing Center, a not-for-profit leading provider of services to the speech and hearing impaired of Orange County, California. The software implementation will include functionality for electronic therapy documentation, cross-discipline therapy scheduling, referrals, insurance authorizations and charges. It also includes a patient demographic and billing interface to the existing practice management system.

“Our mission is to enrich life through the gifts of speech and hearing,” says Linda H. Smith, CEO of Providence Speech and Hearing Center. “Because of the efficiencies we’ll gain by automating our administrative and clinical workflows with Chart Links, we’re projecting an increase in patient load and a drastic reduction in our wait list of 1000 patients, all of whom are children.”

In 2008, Providence provided services to more than 21,000 people. Approximately 80% of Providence Speech and Hearing Center’s work is dedicated to low-income patients who are either uninsured or underinsured.

“We selected Chart Links over other systems because it was built for therapists practicing in an outpatient setting,” says Smith. “By enhancing their productivity, we expect to increase our time spent with patients and improve outcomes.”

Chart Links software streamlines all of the daily tasks associated with a patient’s physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech language pathology, or audiology visit. The software manages adult and pediatric therapy treatment by automating evaluations, flow sheets, plans of care, progress notes, patient education, and clinical correspondence. It also manages payer compliance, provider reimbursement, outcomes reporting, administrative functions, business intelligence and enterprise productivity.

About Chart Links, LLC
For 15 years, Chart Links has developed rehabilitation software that automates workflow for referrals, insurance authorizations, cross-discipline scheduling, documentation, charges, and more. Chart Links allows medical rehabilitation facilities to be more efficient and to provide a higher quality of care by delivering results in the areas of compliance, outcomes, analytics and revenue.http://www.chartlinks.com?source=prweb

About Providence Speech and Hearing Center
Founded in 1965 by Sister Margaret Anne Inman Ph.D., Providence Speech and Hearing Center is the leading service provider to the speech and hearing impaired of Orange County, California. With over 40 years of experience, Providence has grown from a one room house to a multi-million dollar non-profit organization. Providence served over 21,000 appointments in 2008 to over 3,200 unique patients. They offer a full array of speech and hearing services for children and adults alike; and, because they believe everyone deserves the gifts of speech and hearing, they accept most major insurance companies and medical groups as well as providing grants, scholarships and financing options for patients from low-income families. http:// http://www.pshc.org

RAC: CMS Approved Audit Issues Posted

September 24, 2009 · Posted in Industry News, RAC · Comment 

To see the Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) CMS-approved audit issues, visit Connolly Healthcare’s website.  Connolly is the RAC Contractor for Region C.  The CMS Approved Audit Issues are for hospital outpatient facilities and physicians. 

According to the National Association of Rehab Providers and Associations (NARA), the first set of approved issues includes outpatient rehab in the mix, and the source of the issues comes straight from the finding in the RAC demonstration project in California and New York.  In the demonstration project $3.2 million of claims for speech evaluation were found to be billed in error as time-based codes, rather than as service-based codes. The Speech evaluation code may only be billed as a unit of “1″. The same is also true for physical therapy evaluation and occupational therapy evaluation codes.

Audiology Documentation Software

September 22, 2009 · Posted in audiology · Comment 

Chart Links offers software that simplifies the management of an audiology clinic.

In addition to our administrative and financial features like patient registration, referral management, insurance authorization, cross-discipline scheduling, charges, reporting/analytics, and outcomes, we offer the following audiology-specific features.

  • Audiology Evaluations. Standard audiology evaluation forms library (i.e., hearing loss, hearing aid assessment). Contains numerous sections with the ability to customize into sets and forms.
  • Device and Inventory Tracking. Monitor devices like hearing aids, hearing aid accessories and batteries. Track stock, new orders, returns and repairs.
  • Audiology Patient Education. Print-on-demand patient handouts (i.e., home programs). Instructional and educational materials are available for customization and distribution. Ability to scan-in existing sheets or create-your-own. Ability to interface to third-party electronic formats.
  • Appointment Recalls. Electronically manage appointment reminders for periodic hearing exams.
  • Scheduling. Ability to schedule patient with Audiologist, hearing/screening booth and audioscope in one easy-to-use feature.
  • Patient Arrival Notification. Audiologist may receive a page on his/her beeper to be notified when a patient has checked in at the front desk. Great for time management when an audiologist is in the hearing booth.
  • Authorizations. Monitor authorized visits for hearing evaluation and follow-up visits.
  • Compliance. Support of compliance efforts with JCAHO, CARF, HIPAA and other rehabilitation professional standards. Helps ensure compliance with Medicare CCI edits and time tracking while documenting.

Contact us to schedule a one-on-one demonstration of how our software works for speech and hearing centers.

MACs + RACs = Audits

September 9, 2009 · Posted in RAC · Comment 

Both RACs and MACs audit providers to ensure that they’re paid correctly for services provided.  But once a MAC audits a service, a RAC cannot. And vice versa. So, does that mean there might be a little friendly competition between them that could result in more audits for providers?  This article written by Andrea Kraynak for HealthLeaders Media explores that notion.

CCHIT to Seek EHR Vendor Input on Town Call Meeting

The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT®), a nonprofit organization with the public mission of accelerating the adoption of health IT, will host a Town Call tomorrow for the vendor and developer community tomorrow.  Chart Links Chief Operating Officer, Jim Hammer, will participate.  On the call, CCHIT will gather input on the details and timing of its planned new paths to certification of electronic health record (EHR) technologies, with the goal of supporting more rapid, widespread adoption and meaningful use under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

“We are concerned that providers could not achieve meaningful EHR use in 2011 if they wait until Spring 2010 – the expected date of HHS final approval of requirements – to begin adopting this technology,” said Mark Leavitt, M.D., Ph.D., Commission chair.  “CCHIT has analyzed the recommendations of the Federal HIT Advisory Committees and is preparing to offer new paths to certification beginning this October.”

Besides updating and enhancing its current certification program for comprehensive EHRs in Ambulatory, Inpatient, and Emergency Department settings, the Commission plans to launch a more limited, modular inspection program for EHR technology, focusing only on compliance with ARRA-required standards.

During the event, planned for September 3 at 12:00 PM Central time, concepts and some details of these two programs will be discussed.  Participants will be invited to submit questions and comments online, and respond to polling regarding their interest and readiness for participation in the process.

Information about the free Town Call is available at http://www.cchit.org/about/towncalls/commission-seeks-input-2009.

More information on CCHIT and CCHIT Certified® products is available at http://cchit.org and http://ehrdecisions.com.

Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) Program Underway

September 2, 2009 · Posted in occupational therapy, physical therapy, RAC, Speech Therapy · Comment 

The Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) program is under way, and outpatient rehabilitation and CORF/OPT services are now subject to review. The program, a wide-ranging cost-containment plan, is expected to cut improper payments in Medicare programs and identify ways to diminish or eliminate altogether any future improper payments, which may include payments for services that are not covered, coded improperly, or duplicate charges. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) plan to expand the program to all 50 states over time (visit www.cms.hhs.gov/RAC to view the schedule).

Outpatient rehab is within the first set of CMS-approved audit issues. The speech evaluation code, and physical therapy and occupational therapy evaluation codes, can only be billed as a unit of “1.” In the section on Timed and Untimed Codes, CMS provides numerous examples of appropriate billing methods.

Provider outreach must occur within a state before any reviews can take place. Connolly Healthcare, which is contracted to perform recovery audit services in Region C, is the first of the four contractors to hold the mandated town hall meetings (visit this site for more information: www.connollyhealthcare.com/RAC/pages/cms_RAC_Program.aspx).

To prepare for a review, physical and occupational therapists should conclude whether they have billed evaluation and/or service-based codes erroneously. If their internal audit finds billing errors, they need to find, via their compliance program, the procedure for making a voluntary refund or perhaps a self-disclosure. Those who feel they may have difficulties may wish to perform the audit through attorney-client privilege.

For more information, visit the Web sites for the RAC jurisdictions, as follows: Region A: Diversified Collection Services (www.dcsrac.com), Region B: CGI (http://racb.cgi.com), Region C: Connolly Consulting Inc (www.connollyhealthcare.com/RAC), and Region D: HealthDataInsights Inc (no Web site yet; racinfo@emailhdi.com).

Source (verbatim): Rehab Management’s RehabToday enewsletter dated 08/27/09