Congress Letter to CMS Re Payment Cuts for Outpatient Physical Therapy Services

As reported in Physical Therapy Products, on August 9, Rep Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) sent a letter signed by 68 members of Congress to Donald Berwick, MD, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The letter expresses concern over CMS’s proposal to cut payment for outpatient physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology services in the CY 2011 physician fee schedule proposed rule.

 

The letter begins, “We write to you to express our concern over the significant cuts in payment for outpatient physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology services proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in the CY 2011 Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule.”

“The rehabilitation community strongly believes that a cut of 50 percent is unwarranted and is concerned that CMS’ proposed policy is based on a flawed assumption that there is duplication of services when rehabilitation services are billed. Therapy codes are unlike most other Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes in that the practice expense component for a typical visit is spread out among multiple codes since multiple services are typically provided to a patient during a visit,” says the letter.

The letter requests that a detailed explanation of the methodology CMS used to calculate the new rates be provided to Congress. Pomeroy also included a request that CMS work closely with stakeholders in the rehabilitation community toward the production of a final rule that will not adversely affect access to care, particularly in rural and other underserved areas.

“Given that this represents a significant cut to a group of services in the proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and given the large number of Medicare beneficiaries who rely upon these therapies, we ask that CMS provide us with a detailed justification, including an explanation of the methodology used to calculate the new rates.”

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month

March 23, 2010 · Posted in audiology, Industry News, Speech Therapy · Comment 

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is promoting “Better Hearing and Speech” in the month of May.  This annual event provides opportunities to raise awareness about communication disorders and to promote treatment that can improve the quality of life for those who experience problems with speaking, understanding, or hearing.

For resources to help your facility celebrate Better Hearing and Speech month, go to http://www.asha.org/bhsm/

Ann W. Kummer to Speak about Speech Therapy Software at ASHA

November 18, 2008 · Posted in Compliance, Documentation, Scheduling, Speech Therapy, Workflow · Comment 

We’re happy to announce that Ann Kummer, PhD, CCC-SLP, ASHA-F, will speak at the 2008 Annual American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Convention on November 22, 2008 in Chicago, IL from 8-9am. The presentation, entitled “It’s Not IF You’ll Computerize, It’s WHEN and HOW,” will cover 10 things that speech-language pathology (SLP) clinics should consider when evaluating speech therapy software to automate their documentation and administration. Dr. Kummer is the Senior Director of Speech Pathology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) and Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

“More than a decade ago, we embarked upon a mission to reduce the documentation and administrative demands within our organization,” says Dr. Kummer.  “Today, we leverage information technology to automate our processes, streamline workflow, reduce billing errors, increase coding compliance, and improve the quality, consistency and turn-around time of our documentation.”

In 1995, Dr. Kummer chose Chart Links Rehab Software to meet the unique documentation needs of a speech pathology department that couldn’t be met with a generic clinical documentation or electronic medical records system. Within a year of launching the system, the Speech Pathology Department at Cincinnati Children’s started realizing the benefits of automation, which included:

  • 1-2 hours of increased billed time per week per full-time equivalent therapist
  • Increased reimbursement resulting from consistent processes
  • Decreased support staff costs
  • Improved net revenues
  • Improved staff and patient satisfaction

The cost reductions in computerizing the documentation and administrative processes continue to deliver a financial return to the organization each year.

Dr. Kummer’s department has been computerized with Chart Links Rehab Software since 1995. She is the author of Business Practices: A Guide for Speech-Language Pathologists published by ASHA.  She is also the author of Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Anomalies: Effects on Speech and Resonance published by Delmar Cengage Learning, 2 Edition (July, 2007).

To learn more about Chart Links’ Rehab Software, visit booth #962 at the American Speech-Language-Pathology Association (ASHA) Annual Convention in Chicago, Illinois on November 20-22, 2008, call 888.369.0707, or visit our website.

Version 5 of Outpatient Rehabilitation Software Released

Chart Links has launched version 5 of its outpatient rehabilitation workflow management and clinical documentation product.  The therapy software release includes features like flow sheet documentation, a fresh user interface, enhanced time tracking and patient appointment reminders.

“We’re proud to release technology that further enables medical rehabilitation practitioners to improve patient care, measure clinical outcomes and be more efficient,” says Ron Miller, M.D., President and Chief Medical Officer of Chart Links.  “We’re committed to developing comprehensive solutions that meet the complex and cross-disciplinary workflows of outpatient rehab care.”

Chart Links Rehabilitation Software is used in charting patient progress for physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology and audiology.  It handles the entire outpatient rehabilitation workflow including scheduling, insurance authorization, referral management, treatment documentation, charges, outcomes, reporting and compliance.

Read our press release about Version 5 of Chart Links Rehabilitation Software.

Version 5 to Launch in June

Chart Links is advancing its product offering.  With a new management team in place and a renewed focus on software enhancement, our interface will be fresh, our workflow management capabilities broader, and our rehabilitation-specific content deeper.

The new version will better meet the demands scheduling, documenting patient care, driving revenue and reporting outcomes for multi-disciplinary therapy care in an outpatient setting.

Features of the new therapy software will include:

  • flow sheet documentation
  • a new user interface
  • enhanced Medicare Time Tracking features
  • automated patient appointment reminders

Watch for a release in the coming month.