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This is the General News Posting Page. If you are posting information on HOD or Legislative Issues, please use the Members Only posting pages - click on "Members Only".
  • 18-Mar-2020 6:53 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Official guidance and best practices change rapidly as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve. APTA is curating critical advice from trusted sources such as the CDC.

    Information is added hourly, daily. Please continue to check back:


    As of 3/18/2020:

    APTA Resources

    APTA Statement on Patient Care and Practice Management During COVID-19 Outbreak (March 17, 2020)
    As actions are taken across the country to reduce the spread of COVID-19, a virus that spreads easily from close contact, APTA encourages physical therapists to use their professional judgment to determine when, where, and how to provide care, with the understanding this is not the optimal environment for care, for anyone involved.

    Telehealth in Physical Therapy In Light of COVID-19 (March 16, 2020)
    The use of telehealth is one approach that can help keep both patients and providers safe, but PTs and PTAs need to understand the current regulatory and payer telehealth landscape to decide whether telehealth is right — or even a possibility — for them. (And be sure to tell Congress to waive restrictions on the use of telehealth!)

    National Health Emergency Triggers CMS Waivers for Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP (March 16, 2020)
    The "blanket waiver" system now in effect eases a wide range of requirements, but CMS still won't reimburse for telehealth by PTs. Take action!

    CMS Moves to Allow Digital Communications by PTs (March 17, 2020)
    The new regulatory waivers will allow PTs, OTs, and SLPs to engage in patient-initiated "e-visits" for purposes of assessment and management services.

    Coronavirus Update: March 17, 2020 (March 17, 2020)
    APTA provides a statement, resources, and guidance; CMS allows limited digital services by PTs; the CDC says gatherings should be fewer than 50 people, and more.

    CDC Resources

    CDC Information and Resources (updated frequently)
    Includes information for providers including infection control and preventing transmission in health care settings, guidance for clinical and home care, contact information for local and state health departments, and more; plus information for facilities, families, schools, communities, and businesses.

    CMS Resources

    CMS Issues COVID-19 Guidance on Infection Control, Protective Equipment (March 11, 2020)
    The ever-growing list of resources from CMS includes guidance related to particular settings including hospice, SNFs, and home health.

    CMS Guidance for Infection Control and Prevention of COVID-19 in Nursing Homes (March 13, 2020)
    CMS is providing additional guidance to nursing homes to help them improve their infection control and prevention practices to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, including revised guidance for visitation.

    Additional Resources

    Novel Coronavirus: A Wake-up Call for Best Practices in Preventing Pathogen Transmission (March 10, 2020
    In addition to taking precautions to avoid aerosolization (the production of airborne particles containing an infectious virus or bacteria), we must disinfect surfaces touched by infected people. Thus, in physical therapy clinics, in anticipation of future patients being infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, we must think holistically in terms of clinic disinfection and protection.

    APTA Events and Operations

    In an effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), effective March 11, 2020, APTA is suspending in-person meetings and APTA business travel by staff or members through April 15, 2020. This includes the Federal Advocacy Forum in Washington, DC.

    APTA has not made any decisions about events occurring after April 15, 2020, including the House of Delegates and NEXT Conference & Exposition in June. We intend to continue to monitor the situation and announce a decision about those events by April 20, 2020.

    APTA will contact members affected by any suspended in-person events to share any related details, including information about registration refunds or the potential for replacement virtual meetings, as appropriate.

    This decision by APTA national does not dictate the status of activities hosted by APTA chapters and sections.

    We will continue to monitor the developments around the spread of coronavirus. As with all public health situations, we primarily rely on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, and the U.S. Office of the Surgeon General for the best information and preventive strategies.

    If you are registered for an APTA event beyond April 15, 2020, and don't want to attend due to coronavirus, contact APTA member services and you will be given a refund. (For quickest service, email memberservices@apta.org with the name of the event and the reason for your cancellation. If you have any other questions, please contact us.)

    We will continue to update this page if there are further changes to APTA's events and operations.

  • 23-Apr-2019 9:07 PM | Anonymous member

    Key Contacts
    The Key Contacts are APTA members who serve as the primary contacts with their Senators or Representative in the United States Congress. There can be more than one key contact for a member of Congress. Key Contacts establish valuable relationships with legislators to increase awareness of the issues that face the physical therapy profession.

    Key Contact Roles & Responsibilities:

    • Establish and maintain a relationship with members of Congress and their staff
    • Provide information on critical physical therapy issues to members of Congress
    • Develop a network of physical therapists that live in the state/congressional district who will write letters or make telephone calls to legislators in support of APTA's public policy priorities (This is generally automated now, so easy)

    If you have a personal connection to a legislator or are interested in building a relationship with your Senators or House Representative, e-mail brendamahlum@msn.com or advocacy@apta.org to become a key contact.

  • 18-Jun-2018 1:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The National Defense Authorization Act of 2017, signed on December 12, included a provision adding PTAs (and OTAs) as authorized providers under TRICARE. However, this change is not yet effective. The change to regulation will be implemented through the notice and comment rulemaking process. The proposed rule has not yet been released; it is expected in the fall of 2018 or spring of 2019. A 60-day comment period will follow the release of the proposed rule, after which the Department of Defense will review the comments and draft and publish the final rule. Until the rule is finalized and published, TRICARE does not consider a PTA as an authorized provider, and the rule will not be retroactive. APTA will keep members informed of the timeline for this changeover to the TRICARE system.

  • 11-Jun-2018 11:24 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In an effort to establish a group of Montana Pediatric PTs, we would like to hear from you:  The purpose of forming this group would be to provide more opportunities for networking, discussion and dissemination of information including continuing education that is specific to pediatric physical therapy.  And with more pediatric specific MAPTA courses coming in the next year, we will have an opportunity to meet, as a more established group, in the future.

    You don't need to be an APTA member to be included in this group.  If you are a member, and more specifically an Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy (APPT) member, you may already be receiving emails from Jennifer Stephens, the Montana representative for the APPT.  As members of APPT, you will continue to receive news from Jennifer.  This new email list, is a separate list from the APPT list.  Jennifer and I are woking together to form this more comprehensive, so that all Montana pediatric PTs can be included.

    If you are interested in being included in this group and would like to include your email to this list, email me at krayno67@gmail.com.  

  • 01-Apr-2018 9:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Preauthorization (PA) is no longer required for certain services rendered on and after April 1, 2018. While a PA is no longer required, services are still subject to Medical Necessity and coverage criteria for payment. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana (BCBSMT) may conduct post-service claim review for the appropriateness of care.

    eviCore will discontinue all PA and retrospective Utilization Management (UM) services requested by providers for the medical services identified below.

    Discontinued Preauthorization Requirement for These Services

           Service Modality

    ·         Ultrasound

    ·         Physical Therapy

    ·         Occupational Therapy

    ·         Speech Therapy

    ·         Chiropractic

    ·         Pain Management

    ·         Sleep Therapy

    ·         Sleep DME

    Membership Impacted

    ·         Montana Individual Medicare HMO

    ·         Montana Individual Medicare PPO

    ·         Montana Group Medicare PPO

    Please refer to the BCBSMT Medicare Advantage Discontinued Code List 


  • 17-Feb-2018 10:44 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Yesterday APTA hosted a special edition of Insider Intel for our members that focused on additional details and frequently asked questions related to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 signed into law on February 9. The budget deal included a permanent fix to Medicare’s hard cap on outpatient therapy services, PTA/OTA payment differential, changes to the home health payment system, funding for CHIP, and more.

    A recording of yesterday’s Insider Intel webinar on the Therapy Cap has been posted to the APTA website at:


    (click on the February 15 recording posted under the ‘Archives’ section)

    Please feel free to share this link with members or colleagues who have questions on this issue. 

  • 05-Dec-2017 3:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Implementation of the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact continues to move forward, as the PT Compact Commission met on November 5, 2017, in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico, for its first in-person meeting. At this meeting the Commission adopted rules, bylaws, and its 2018 operating budget. The Commission's new website was also unveiled, with a demonstration of how licensees will use the site to apply for and manage compact privileges in participating states. Systems development is on track for a launch sometime in the first half of 2018.

    The Commission adopted a fee of $45 for compact privileges in 2018. This is the fee an individual licensee (PT or PTA) in a participating state will pay to the Commission for a compact privilege in each state in which the licensee wishes to work. States may choose to adopt their own fees for compact privileges in addition to the Commission's fee, but state fees are yet to be determined. 

    A map of compact-participating states is available here. To date, 14 states have adopted the PTLC, legislation is pending in 2 states, and bill introductions are expected in several additional states in 2018. 

  • 30-Nov-2017 3:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    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 PT in Motion News article, please see: http://www.apta.org/PTinMotion/News/2017/11/21/PFSTipsNovember2017/  

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