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In honor of National Physical Therapy Month, North Star Senior Advisors sat down with Hugo MacDonald, PTA with Home Instead to discuss the upcoming changes and from The Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and how it is affecting Physical Therapists. CMS broadly highlighted how the “Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM) is meant to better align reimbursement with patient needs and address payment incentives found within the current system. Since then, industry experts have been able to break down some of the most notable proposed changes—which together will be far-reaching,” stated Robert Holly with Home Health News.
Here is what Hugo had to say on the matter:
Therapists are scared! I walk into so many different buildings daily and see such a somber look on the faces of therapists. Normally, I walk into the therapy department or into a case conference and they are the happiest group of people in home care or skilled setting. And why wouldn’t we be the happiest group in health care? I know that when I was in home health or in rehabs working as a therapist, the patients were always so happy to see me. We aren’t sticking them with a needle or making them take a pill, however, we are there to help them get stronger, recover from that joint replacement, help them to get their balance back, and so forth.
I know that in the rehabs residents saw us (therapist) as the path for them to get back home. In home health, we were the ones that would spend an hour with them 3 times a week for a whole month. We get to enter their homes and help them re-learn how to get out of bed and show them that a kitchen countertop is a great place to do exercises.
Working in Central and South Florida, I know most of you can count in 3 languages to at least ten, and even run through a basic HEP in 3 languages. What is taking this group of amazing people that have done so much good and taught so much to the community from a happy-go-lucky group to a somber group? PDGM!!!!
I get it it’s scary and we hear rumors of what’s to come how they won’t need as many therapists in the future. We won’t be the drivers for patient needs in the future. So many changes … I’ve been a therapist for a little while and have seen some changes in my time, RUG levels and the 13 19 rule are the two that affected me the most. I remember with the 13/19 rule, us PTAs where worried that they were just going to start using PTs since, let’s be real it was a scheduling nightmare. What I learned is that some of the PTAs that shouldn’t have been in our field because all they wanted was the money were weened out and those that really care about the patient stuck it out until it all came back around. I’m not saying that this change that is about to happen will only be around for a short time, but I do feel that much of therapy has turned to a recycling of patients over and over again and maybe it’s time for there to be a new change that will ween out some of the therapist that are in it for the wrong reasons.
As this change happens, don’t be scared, it’ll get better! Let your outcomes speak for themselves! Learn how you can become the best therapist you can become; the frequencies are going to be cut down drastically, but that’s okay! It just means that you will be able to help more people out. And please, therapist, take some of the credit for what you do. I know that we hat to document but document the heck out of what you are doing show how valuable you are. Tell your patients to call their doctors and case managers to brag about you. I know that I would get my patients to tell my boss and doctor how much they appreciated what I had done and how much they loved Hugo.
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” ― Rumi
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