Insights News Pulse – June 17, 2016

This week, our featured article discusses the role of physical therapists in reducing hospital readmissions.

Other topics covered include a Clinicient-customer patient reference discussing the effectiveness of physical therapy in managing chronic pain, Clinicient VP of Therapist Success Jerry Henderson discussing the ongoing opioid epidemic, and increasing ACO incentives under the Medicare Shared Savings Program.

PT after a serious accident: A Clinicient-customer patient reference is featured in Modern Healthcare discussing the effectiveness of physical therapy for treating chronic pain, as well as its overall use to reduce the opioid epidemic. In particular, Mariah O’Brien, a patient at Movement Solutions and Clinicient Total INSIGHT customer, discusses how she used PT to avoid opioids after a car accident and return to full functionality. Modern Healthcare: “As views change on opioids, patients and providers find few other options for managing pain” by Steven Ross Johnson, June 11, 2016.

Panel_JerryH_1920x1080Prevention before prescription: Clinicient VP of Therapist Success Jerry Henderson discusses the ongoing opioid epidemic and how to better manage pain patients using PT in The National Pain Report. In particular, Jerry discusses the need for other non-drug therapies to replace the traditional “prescribe first” mindset, as well as describes how all stakeholders can collaborate for the best patient path. “If you could put a family practice doctor, a physical therapist and someone from the insurance company in the same room, you could quickly show the value of what integrated treatment can mean for the patient and for the payer.”  National Pain Report: “The Opioid Story Needs a New Chapter Written” by Ed Coghlan, June 14, 2016.

First-of-its-kind, two-armed exoskeleton: Engineers at The University of Texas at Austin are improving the recovery process for stroke patients via a robo key unlocking door tic rehabilitation exoskeleton. Not only does the technology provide “first-of-its-kind” full upper-body therapy, but also gives therapists the ability to track and analyze data collected during use – allowing for the delivery of precise therapy to each patient’s needs. ADVANCE for Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine: “Innovative Post-stroke Rehab” by Dillon Stickle, June 10, 2016.

Patient responsibility with opioids:
A recent survey found that over 60 percent of people who were prescribed opioids reported having excess pills – with less than 10 percent reportedly keeping them in a secure location. “It’s critical that we understand hospital prescribing patterns so that we can make sure we are prescribing these medications safely and effectively without fueling this deadly crisis.” Healthline: “Majority of Prescription Painkillers Remain in Medicine Chests” by Brian Krans, June 15, 2016.

Incentivizing ACOs: Under a new rule, Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) will be increasingly incentivized to participate in the program while continuing to work towards value-based payment models. “Today’s changes will encourage more physicians to improve patient care by joining [ACOs], while also refining how the program measures success, so that current participants are better rewarded for quality.” PT in Motion News: “New Rules for ACOs Aim to Encourage Participation” by Staff, June 16, 2016.

big hospitalFeatured article on the role of physical therapists in reducing hospital readmissions and optimizing outcomes. PT in Motion News: “From PTJ: PT Input Key to Reducing Hospital Readmissions” by Staff, June 15, 2016.

One of the hospital’s biggest challenges in improving their Medicare Star Ratings and delivering quality outcomes happens post-discharge. Readmissions are a leading indicator for quality acute care facilities, and a recent study has linked functional decline during and after hospitalization with an increased risk for hospital readmission.

Although many models of care aim to address the issue of hospital readmissions, few include physical therapy interventions – which proves to be effective in mitigating some of the health problems patients face after leaving the hospital. As a matter of fact, “hospital readmission rates after acute care discharge are 3 times higher if physical therapist discharge recommendations are replaced with less intensive interventions,” so shouldn’t the physical therapist be a significant member of transitional care teams?

PTs in all settings during the care process have a hand in contributing to improved outcomes and the reduction of readmissions. Throughout the hospital stay, the acute care PT’s position to coordinate care and participate in the discharge planning process to ensure community-based PTs and home health PTs are prepared for each patient’s specific needs.

Successful discharge planning and follow up care plans require a synchronized effort on the part of the entire care team, which should include physical therapists. For the sake of the patients and the providers, physical therapists need to be involved in more transitional care roles to reduce readmissions – a complete care team is a key first step in accomplishing these goals, so don’t forget the PT.

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