In The News

Let's Do This: Customizable Comment Letters on Fee Schedule Now Available

It's time to let CMS know exactly what we think about their proposed 2022 fee schedule. APTA makes it easy.

The proposed 2022 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule is out, and it doesn't include much good news for PTs and PTAs: another attempt to implement severe payment cuts, the rollout of the PTA payment differential, and no movement toward including PTs as telehealth providers.

But the fight is far from over. It's time to come together and act. Now available: Two opportunities for you to make your voice heard at CMS, both available in the APTA Regulatory Action Center.

APTA has created two template letters for members to use to submit comments to CMS — one that covers all the issues included in the proposed rule, and a second that focuses specifically on the PTA payment differential. You can submit one or both. Comments are due by September 13, 2021.

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APTA 2021 Statehouse Roundup: New Prepayment Review Law, Imaging Wins, More

From better insurer responsiveness to direct access improvements, to breakthroughs on PT use of imaging, lots of state-level achievements.

After a trying year as the country struggled through a pandemic, most state legislatures reconvened in 2021 for very active sessions. Some legislatures are still in session, but APTA state chapters, in collaboration with the association, have already earned a number of wins at the state level. Here's a review of what's happened so far.

(While a few state legislatures are still in session, APTA continues to monitor legislation and assist state chapters with their legislative advocacy efforts. However, the most effective voices continue to be PTs, PTAs, and student physical therapists. To get involved, visit APTA's advocacy page.)

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Renewal of Public Health Emergency (PHE) for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services, renewed the PHE for COVID-19 for 3 months beginning on July 20, 2021. The renewal states:

Renewal of Determination That a Public Health Emergency Exists

As a result of the continued consequences of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, on this date and after consultation with public health officials as necessary, I, Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services, pursuant to the authority vested in me under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act, do hereby renew, effective July 20, 2021, the January 31, 2020, determination by former Secretary Alex M. Azar II, that he previously renewed on April 21, 2020, July 23, 2020, October 2, 2020, and January 7, 2021, and that I renewed on April 15, 2021, that a public health emergency exists and has existed since January 27, 2020, nationwide.

As a reminder to providers, 1135 waivers in place during the PHE will remain in place until the end of the PHE, unless the waiver allows for a time frame after the expiration of the PHE to have the task completed. The CMS complete list of 1135 waivers (updated 5/24/2021) can be found on the CMS website.

 

Relaxation Techniques 

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

Relaxation techniques are practices to help bring about the body’s “relaxation response”—the opposite of the way the body responds to stress. Progressive relaxation, which involves tensing different muscles in your body and then releasing the tension, and guided imagery, in which you picture objects, scenes, or events associated with relaxation or calmness, are examples. 

Research suggests that relaxation techniques may help relieve pain and anxiety in a variety of situations in both adults and children. However, relaxation techniques haven’t shown much promise for insomnia; cognitive behavioral therapy is more effective.  

We just updated our fact sheet on relaxation techniques, and we welcome you to read about the latest science. 

Read the Fact Sheet

 

HHS: Burden Of Proof On Provider Relief Recipients When Reporting

Inside Health Policy | By Dorothy Mills-Gregg
  
Provider relief recipients will not receive an extension beyond Sept. 30 to report use of their relief funds and the burden of proof is on them to show they used the money to prevent, prepare for and respond to the pandemic, HHS staff said Thursday (July 8) during the first COVID-19 relief reporting webinar. Those with provider relief not spent by June 30 will have until Oct. 30 to return the unspent funds to HHS.
 
Providers waited nearly six months before the provider relief reporting portal went live last week. HHS opened the complete portal and supporting documents after hospitals, providers and lawmakers spent weeks asking the department to extend the provider relief spending deadline, which is tied to the reporting requirements, beyond Wednesday (June 30). HHS stopped short of a complete extension in guidance released June 11 and tied spending and reporting deadlines to when providers received their relief.
 
Providers who received $10,000 or more in relief before June 30, 2020 will have a hard deadline of Sept. 30 to report how they used their relief over the past year, said staff from the agency in charge of distributing the funds, Health Resources and Services Administration.
 
“You may not receive an extension on the deadline to report. If you do not report by the deadline, you will be deemed out of compliance with the terms and conditions of the payments and may be subject to recoupment,” HRSA staff said during the webinar.
 
Meanwhile, it’s up to providers to explain why they used provider relief for certain expenses and to make up for lost revenue due to COVID-19. Providers will have 30 days to respond to HRSA if it determines the provider’s calculation is not reasonable.
 
“So the burden of proof is on the provider to ensure that documentation is maintained to show that expenses are in fact to prevent, prepare for and respond to coronavirus,” HRSA staff said.

 
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