REHAB INSIDER Asks: How Should Practice Owners Prepare for 2017?

2017 Goals

Thought leaders weigh in on the primary concerns facing practitioners this year

REHAB INSIDER Asks: How Should Practice Owners Plan for 2017?

With the New Year underway, it can be an especially turbulent time for practice owners and their therapists. Looking to 2017, there are several issues that rehabilitation practice owners must better understand and contend with — everything from the Medicare cap to PQRS and even the application of new CPT codes.

To best prepare for the year ahead, ADVANCE asked thought leaders across the rehabilitation industry how practice owners should best prepare.

Nancy Beckley, President, Nancy Beckley & Associates LLC, Milwaukee, Wisc.

Nancy BeckleyCheck the Medicare Cap. It’s never a bad idea to keep an eye on the therapy cap — but it’s especially important this year as our healthcare climate faces so much uncertainty and our seniors may be concerned about their Medicare coverage and therapy. Let Medicare beneficiaries that are currently receiving therapy know that on January 1, 2017, it is a new benefit year, and the cap is reset, but also let them know that therapy must be medically necessary and that they will have to meet their Medicare deductible for 2017.

Jerry Henderson, VP of Therapist Success, Clinicient

Jerry HendersonStay on top of PQRS. Respond to the CMS letter regarding the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) if you got one, or make sure your staff is doing PQRS. At the end of every year, I always kept an obsessive eye on our mailbox because that’s how CMS notifies you of any unsatisfactory PQRS reports from the past year. Did you get a PQRS penalty letter from CMS? If so, it is important to request your PQRS participation report, and make sure your staff understands any PQRS reporting problems. Understanding the concepts around PQRS reporting is critically important now and in the future. Even though we probably don’t need to worry about PQRS participation in 2017, the PQRS program will be part of the Merit Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), which may include rehab specialties as early as 2019.

Jenna Coe, OTR, MOT, C/NDT, Owner of All Care Therapies of Georgetown, Georgetown, Texas

Jenna CoePatient collection best practice. Patient collection is always an important aspect of your practice — but I would argue it’s even more important during the start of a new year in January and February. Due to health insurance deductibles resetting, close to 80% of your income can come from patients. Say it again — 80%! That’s not something to take lightly or let slip through your fingers.


Mike Studer, PT, MHS, NCS,CEEAA, CWT, Owner of Northwest Rehabilitation Associates

As the year comes to a close, we begin to finalize some of our annual processes that help us advance our clinic’s future. Namely, we review our large item (depreciable) purchases; our liability insurance policy; our charitable donations (time and financial); as well as our marketing efforts over the prior 11-12 months. With these in perspective, we are more well-positioned to estimate and project our plans for the upcoming year. Additionally, we review contracts and credentialing, prospectively. The timing is important in this consideration, as many insurance companies are bogged down by open enrollment and policy changes AFTER the first of the year, which if left until January, would slow their response to us.

Jerry Henderson, VP of Therapist Success, Clinicient

CPT codes — use the new eval and re-eval codes. After years of preparation, CMS has unveiled new CPT evaluation and re-evaluation codes for PT and OT, for 2017. Included are three new eval codes and one new re-eval code for each profession based on the complexity of the patient’s condition. Although there is no pay differential for these complexity-based evaluation codes, this is the first step to allow for more equitable payment for evaluating and managing more complex patients.

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