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Weekly News Scan: CMS Gets an Earful on Proposed Cut to PT, Employer-based Family Healthcare Coverage Rises

This week in the news, we look at the flood of responses to the proposed 8 percent decrease in the Medicare fee schedule for physical and occupational therapy, the top challenges facing healthcare executives, the record rise in costs of employer-based family healthcare coverage, and research indicating that seeing PTs first lowers opioid use.
We hope you enjoy!

CMS wanted comments. It got close to 29K, including a flood from physical therapists and psychologists, Fierce Healthcare, September 25, 2019

Therapists let their voices be heard about their concerns with the proposed 8 percent cut to physical therapy in the proposed physician fee schedule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). This included letters from physical therapists, psychologists and social workers telling the agency not to cut their Medicare reimbursements. Learn about the flood of comments in this short article.

Consumerism is the 2nd biggest challenge facing healthcare executives in 2020, Becker’s Hospital Review, September 23, 2019

Perfecting the consumer experience is one of the top tasks on healthcare leaders’ to-do lists in 2020, according to the HealthCare Executive Group’s annual “Top 10” list of the primary opportunities and challenges facing its members. What else makes the top ten list for 2020? Read the article to discover what made the cut for top healthcare leaders.

Cost of employer-based family health coverage hits record high: $20,576, Becker’s Hospital Review, September 26, 2019

Employer-based family health coverage costs continue to rise and are increasingly becoming unaffordable, according to the report for the Kaiser Family Foundation. Annual premiums for employer-based family health insurance surpassed $20,000 for the first time. Read this article to learn how much average premiums have grown and how they are outpacing wage growth and inflation.

APTA co-sponsored study: Seeing a PT First for LBP Lowers Odds of Early and Long-Term Opioid Use, PT in Motion, September 25, 2019

An analysis of more than 200,000 commercial and Medicare Advantage insurance beneficiaries revealed a “significant” pattern to researchers: among patients seeking treatment for low back pain (LBP), those whose initial visit was with a physical therapist, chiropractor, or acupuncturist decreased their odds of early opioid use by between 85% and 91%. It also lowered their odds of long-term opioid use by 73% to 78% compared with those whose initial visit was with a primary care physician. Read more details about the study here.

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