The RehabCare Advocacy Network of therapists and our government relations team traveled to Capitol Hill last week for the 2014 AHCA/NCAL Congressional Briefing to discuss patient access to medically necessary therapies. The combined services of physical, occupational and speech therapies have the opportunity to provide significant savings to the Medicare program by reducing the risk of rehospitalization and improving functional abilities, but the provision of therapy continues to be threatened by regulatory measures such as Part B therapy caps, changes to group and concurrent therapy, coding changes and the application of the Medical Manual Review (MMR) and Multiple Procedure Payment Reduction policies.
Across all care settings, an interdisciplinary approach leads to better patient outcomes. This has long been the experience of RehabCare and other clinicians and is also the takeaway of a new position paper published by The American Geriatrics Society. The paper was produced by the Partnership for Health in Aging, a collection of over 30 organizations supported by the American Geriatrics Society who represent healthcare for older adults.
Throughout the entire healthcare delivery system – including acute and post-acute care – rehabilitation services are critical to achieve the goal of improving the well-being and physical abilities of each individual so that they may enjoy the highest quality of life possible. Regardless of care setting, the provision of physical and occupational therapies and speech-language pathology are an essential component in making recovery and wellness possible.
A recent Canadian study uncovered that dementia patients are at a heightened risk of death following hip fractures, Provider Magazine reports. The study, conducted over a seven-year period, shows that dementia patients account for “more than four-fifths of hip fractures in long term care centers and nearly one-quarter of hip fractures in the community” and that dementia is associated with an increased risk of death following surgery.
A recent study from Johns Hopkins University found that an
individual’s level of education may indicate how well someone will recover from
an acute, traumatic brain injury, reports CBS News. A patient’s “cognitive reserve”
refers to retained mental function after brain damage, and scientists have
discovered that one may retain more abilities the higher the amount of education
he or she has obtained.
Most of us familiar with rehabilitation know that occupational therapists are problem solvers who devise solutions to unprecedented problems with carrying out day-to-day tasks. But not everyone is aware that mental health also falls into the OT’s domain.
In celebration of Occupational Therapy Month, we’d like to highlight a lesser-discussed role of occupational therapy: assessing the patient’s mental health and addressing the psychological component of rehabilitation.
Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) and Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the “Improving Care for Vulnerable Older Citizens through Workforce Advancement Act of 2014” last week to establish six new demonstration projects in long-term care. Two of the proposed projects would allocate funds for the training of advanced certified nursing assistants. The idea is to empower these direct-care workers to take on “deeper clinical responsibilities” as well as promote smoother care transitions and reduce rehospitalizations. Participants in the programs would report on outcomes, employee satisfaction and rehospitalization rates.
The National Wheelchair Basketball Association recently held its annual tournament in Louisville, Kentucky, where more than 85 teams and 1,200 athletes competed. Teams from San Diego to New York traveled to the Kentucky Expo Center to compete within their divisions in bracket-style elimination on more than 10 basketball courts. The games began on Thursday, April 3rd and concluded on Sunday, April 6th.
As billing for therapy is interpreted by various agencies that review claims, the importance of strong communication cannot be understated. Shelly Mesure, author of the “Rehab Realities” column for McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, shares the “power words” that therapists should be using when they document for rehab services.
Mesure urges therapists to “use ‘power’ words to clearly communicate our message and avoid any misunderstanding or ‘lack of medical necessity.’” Therapists must use strong and direct language to indicate that the care delivered was crucial to the patient’s recovery and/or safety. Certain words convey this message better than others.
To read Mesure’s documentation recommendations, visit the article here.
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