Q&A: If therapists or therapy assistants are working as nurse aides, can these hours be included in PBJ?

Question: I have a facility that is experiencing a surge of COVID positive patients and staff. Presently, a significant portion of their staff is out due to COVID-19 or isolation related to COVID exposure. Their in-house therapists and therapy assistants are helping out by doing tasks typically completed by CNAs for …

Involve the Therapy Team to Address Changes in Condition and Improve Resident Outcomes in Nursing Homes

By Liz Barlow, RN, CRRN, RAC-CT, DNS-CT, AVP Clinical Innovation, Synchrony Rehab At the end of August, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) held a National Provider Stakeholder call to review some of the recent COVID updates. CMS commented that data collected, along with nursing home surveys, are …

ADR Successful Outcomes with Part B Therapy Audits

In nursing facilities, one of the primary regulatory requirements from Appendix PP of the State Operations Manual is that goods and services are provided to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident (§483.24 Quality of Life). One intervention frequently used is Medicare Part …

Q&A: Can a resident meet the skilled level of care criteria with only speech therapy?

Question: I have always been taught that you cannot skill a resident for only speech therapy. However, now I am being told a resident that is receiving speech therapy 5 days a week should be skilled. Can a resident meet the skilled level of care criteria with only speech therapy? …

Q&A: Our nurses complete a respiratory therapy assessment on all new admissions for the first seven days. Can we count these minutes on the MDS?

Question: Our nurses complete a respiratory therapy assessment on all new admissions for the first seven days. The RAI User’s Manual states that only minutes the respiratory therapist or respiratory nurse spend with the resident shall be recorded. Should we be counting these minutes and coding on the MDS? Answer: …

Top 5 Facts NACs Need to Know About the CY 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule

On Dec. 2, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the Calendar Year (CY) 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) Final Rule. However, on Dec. 21, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 and it was signed into law by the President on Dec. 27, 2020, …

2021 Annual Update to the Therapy Code List (1/21)

I. SUMMARY OF CHANGES: This Change Request (CR) updates the list of codes that sometimes or always describe therapy services. The additions, changes, and deletions to the therapy code list reflect those made in the Calendar Year (CY) 2021 Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) and Level II Healthcare Common Procedure Coding …

Q&A: Therapy completed an evaluation and determined PT services were not needed, but reported individual treatment minutes—can this be coded on the MDS?

Question: Physical therapy completed an evaluation and determined the Medicare Part A resident did not need PT services. The therapist is stating she had 20 minutes of non-MDS time and 30 minutes of actual individual minutes. Since this was an evaluation only, do I still enter the individual minutes?   …

How Therapy Can Support Reimbursement and Care Planning

In the COVID-19 pandemic, some states now are seeing a decrease in cases, while others have continued growth, especially in rural and suburban areas. Much of the COVID-19 response is becoming localized to meet these varying caseloads, but one consistent factor nationwide for nursing homes is the continuing need for …

Q&A: Our rehab department temporarily closed due to a COVID-19 outbreak. We have several residents who are skilled for rehab only and do not have a skilled nursing need. Are we able to continue to skill these residents until our rehab department reopens?

Question: Our rehab department temporarily closed due to a COVID-19 outbreak. We have several residents who are skilled for rehab only and do not have a skilled nursing need. Are we able to continue to skill these residents until our rehab department reopens? Answer: If the rehab department is closed, …