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Weekly News Scan: Final 2020 Fee Schedule, New Technology Ethics, United Healthcare Combats Opioid Crisis, US House Approves Bill to Help Fund PT Program Diversity

This week in the news, we highlight the final 2020 physician fee schedule, new technology ethics, how United Healthcare is combatting the opioid epidemic, and US House support for greater diversity in physical therapy programs.

We hope you enjoy!

Final 2020 Fee Schedule: CMS Relents on PTA Differential System for 2020; Presses on With Planned 8% Cut to Physical Therapy in 2021, PT in Motion, November 4, 2019:

The US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the final 2020 Medicare physician fee schedule. While CMS made some positive changes to how it will calculate payment when therapy services are delivered “in part” by a physical therapist assistant, it failed to reconsider a proposed 8% cut for physical therapy payment and host of other disciplines in 2021. Read this article for the APTA’s rundown of the final 2020 physician fee schedule including information on PTA payment calculations, the continued expansion of MIPS, the KX modifier threshold amount, and more.

New Technology: Keeping It Ethical, Keeping It Legal, PT in Motion, November 6, 2019:

Advances in health care technology raise legal and ethical issues for therapy practices. Providing online advice, posting photos, VADs, wearable technology, use of cameras, electronic health records, and telehealth all can raise legal and ethical challenges for therapy practices. Read this article to learn about situations you may encounter and things you should consider when adding new technologies in your practice.

UnitedHealthcare Combats Opioid Crisis with Non-Opioid Benefits, HealthPayerIntelligence.com, October 29, 2019:

UHC is combatting the opioid epidemic and high healthcare costs with new physical therapy and chiropractic care benefits to prevent, delay, or in some cases substitute for invasive spinal procedures. It is not new information that physical therapy and chiropractic care are effective, lower-cost alternatives to spinal imaging or surgery. However, payers are still in the process of adopting the method.

US House Approves Bill to Help Fund Greater Diversity in PT, Other Health Care Education Programs, PT in Motion, October 29, 2019:

APTA-supported legislation to encourage greater diversity in physical therapy programs has cleared an important hurdle: the US House of Representatives passed a bill that would appropriate additional federal money for scholarships and stipends for students from underrepresented populations. Next stop—the US Senate.

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