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Aquatic PT News

    posted: December 11, 2017

    Hello Aquatic Membership,
     
    I am looking forward to seeing many of you at CSM 2018 in New Orleans!  This membership meeting will be monumental in that the membership will vote on the section name change and bylaw revisions.  I hope you'll join us on February 22 at the Hilton Riverside at 6:30 pm to cast your vote.  After the meeting, we'll celebrate our new identity: The Academy of Aquatic Physical Therapy and hopefully (pending the bylaw adoption) a full vote for PTAs, a new board position - Communications Director, and much more!
     
    To review the clean version of the proposed bylaws, click here.
    To review the tracked changes version of the proposed bylaws, click here
     
    Splashingly,
     
    Charlotte Norton
    President

    posted: December 05, 2017

    By now, most physical therapists (PTs) have heard the news: the final 2018 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) released in early November by the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) included some significant variations from the PFS proposed in July. Instead of finalizing CPT code values that were the same as—and occasionally larger than—current values, CMS opted to offer up a more complicated combination of cuts and increases that could affect PTs in different ways, depending on their case-mix and billing patterns.

    So what should PTs do in the wake of the new PFS? Here are APTA's top 4 suggestions.

    1. Know the design process for the fee schedule. It's important to understand what led to the changes to provide context, a slight sense of relief, and a reminder of why payment needs to move toward value-based models and away from fee-for-service.

    The PFS now set to debut January 1, 2018, is the CMS response to an American Medical Association (AMA) committee's recommendation on potentially "misvalued" codes associated with a wide range of professions, not just physical therapy. When the process began in early 2016, many predicted that the final outcome would be deep cuts to nearly all valuations—as much as 10% or more overall. APTA and its members fought hard to substantiate the validity of the current valuations, and even the need for increases in some areas. The end result was a significant improvement from where things were headed at the start of the process.

    That's not to say it's been an entirely satisfying process from start to finish. This recent PT in Motion News story goes into more detail about the sometimes-frustrating journey from points A to B.

                2. Understand what's being changed. Just about everything that happens at CMS is complicated, and the process that led to the new CPT code valuations is no exception. Still, a working knowledge of how CPT codes are valued is helpful in understanding why the PFS contains such a mix of positives and negatives.

    One important thing to understand is that code valuation is actually a stew of 3 separate elements, known as relative value units (RVUs). These are estimations of the labor, expense, and possible professional liability involved in performing any given treatment or evaluation task associated with a CPT code. The 3 types of RVUs are known as "work," "practice expense" (PE), and "professional liability." The coding valuation differences between the proposed and final PFS were due to changes to the PE RVUs only.

    This wasn't part of the proposed rule. While the AMA Relative Value Scale Update Committee Health Care Professions Advisory Committee did recommend changes to PE RVUs, CMS initially opted to not adopt those suggestions. When the final rule was released 3 months later, CMS—without seeking input from APTA or any other stakeholders—did an about-face and adopted the changes to PE RVUs.

    So what? The answer is twofold: first, the tweaks to PE RVUs mean it's difficult to make many sweeping generalizations about how the new PFS will affect individual practices and clinics; second, it's worth noting that individual work RVUs either remained unchanged or increased.

    A more detailed explanation of how the codes were affected is available in an APTA fact sheet on the 2018 PFS (listed under "APTA Summaries and Fact Sheets"). For a more complete explanation of RVUs and the differences between the 3 types, check out this APTA podcast on the CPT valuation process.

                3. Get a sense of how you might be affected. A sense of history and understanding of detail are all well and good, but the  bottom line is your bottom line.

    Here's the complication with the 2018 PFS: because of the wide variation in upward and downward adjustments, it's hard to make statements about how PTs in general will be affected. CMS estimates the overall impact at a 1%-2% reduction, but a lot depends on the types of patients a PT or clinic typically sees and what interventions are commonly used. Some providers could see increases.

    In an effort to clear up some of the uncertainty, APTA offers a calculator than can help you see how your typical case-mix would fare in the new PFS. The calculator, offered in Microsoft Excel, allows you to enter different codes to see what changes to expect, given your Medicare service area.

                4. Keep learning. There's much more to understand about the PFS—not just in terms of the details of how the new rule will work, but in terms of APTA's work to safeguard CPT codes throughout the misvalued codes review process.

    One great way to learn more about what to expect is coming up in December, when the association hosts a free webinar on Medicare changes for 2018 on December 6 from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm ET. The webinar will be presented in a "flipped" format, meaning that when you register, you'll be provided with a prerecorded presentation to listen to in advance. That way, more of the actual session can be devoted to live interaction with the presenters. Be sure to sign up—and listen up—soon.

    Another opportunity is available December 13, when APTA hosts an "Insider Intel" phone-in session that will cover many of the same topics, albeit in a pared-down 30-minute session, from 2:00 pm to 2:30 pm ET. Instructions for signing up for this session are on APTA's Insider Intel webpage.

    To view the news story, please see: http://www.apta.org/PTinMotion/News/2017/11/21/PFSTipsNovember2017/

    posted: November 29, 2017

    Many thanks to those who cast their vote in the 2017 elections and to those who ran for office.  We are pleased to present to you the election results

    posted: October 31, 2017

    At Combined Section Meeting 2017 APTA officially unveiled the only national Physical Therapy Outcomes Registry (registry). As savvy clinicians, daily we use evidence to direct our practice.  Aquatic therapy evidence while limited is rapidly growing.  Could the registry be another means to collect best aquatic practice data? Registries across disciplines alter healthcare practice by utilizing combined data to determine best practice, cost implications, and staffing patterns.

    Aside from the importance of understanding our practice better why should we be interested in data registries? Beginning in 2017 this registry is a Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) qualified clinical data registry (QCDR), the PT Outcomes Registry for practices participating in Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or who will participate in the future. The current technology integrates with your electronic healthcare record (HER) eliminating additional staff data entry burden.

    Michelle Vanderhoff presents more information regarding the registry in the November issue of PT in Motion magazine.  To understand more registry specifics such as: what is the cost to facilities/practices, what if a given standard intervention does not appear to positively impact patient outcomes, how are disparate patient populations (inner city with multi factorial health issues vs. suburban more affluent clients) addressed, what does each practice/facility gain from registry participation, what data is available to demonstrate registry effectiveness to improve patient outcomes and practice profit, please review Michelle’s article.

     

    http://www.ptoutcomes.com/home.aspx

    http://www.ptoutcomes.com/HowItWorks/

    https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Quality-Initiatives-Patient-Assessment-Instruments/QualityMeasures/index.html

    posted: May 21, 2017

    You asked for it, and we delivered!  The Aquatic Section is proud to offer membership the ability to post Aquatic-specific job openings, clinic equipment for sale, or Practices for sale on our new Classified System.

    Please visit here for introductory pricing and placement! http://www.aquaticpt.org/classifieds/

     

     

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Current Volume: Summer 2017

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The Journal of Aquatic Physical Therapy is the primary peer-reviewed, indexed resource for dissemination of research and scholarly work related to the field of aquatic therapy. With an emphasis on implications and applications for therapy practice, the journal promotes the integration of evidence into theory, education, research, and practice related to the field of aquatic therapy. The journal is dedicated to the development advancement of aquatic therapy through publication of research and scholarly work related, but not limited to, scientific bases, integration of theory into education, translation of clinically relevant knowledge, clinical application, and education of clinicians.

Welcome New Members

Jeffrey Royce Royter, PT, MPT   |   Jacob Francis Brewer, PT, DPT, Ph.D., NCS   |   Robert E Donaldson, PT, DC   |   Trupti Bakshi, PT   |   Jaclyn M. Metro, PT, DPT, GCS   |   Diane Elizabeth Madras, PT, PhD   |   James D Schill, PT   |   Heather Renee-Gleason Jennings, PT, DPT, NCS   |   Ilana Nicole Kellogg Waasdorp, PT   |   Rachel Torlak, PT   |   Maria Penksa, PT   |   Shanelle Lynn Middleton, SPT   |   Megan Jones, PT   |   Andrea Trinidad Walker, PT   |   J.K. Nelms, PTA   |   Jonathan Bellizio, PT, DPT   |   Robert L Arledge, PT   |   Anne Frances Dziuba, PT   |   Emily Colleen Tarlini, PTA   |   Cynthia Dawn Golembiewski, PTA   |   Sharif Magdi Nafeh, PTA   |   Megan Zann, SPT   |   Marilyn D. Phillips, PT, MS, CAE   |   Brian Paul Van Valkenburg, SPTA   |   Andrea Christine Pettit, Andrea Pettit, PTA

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