Arthritis Awareness Month – Understanding Who Physical Therapy Can Help

While there are over 100 types of arthritis, one of the things almost all types have in common is that those who are suffering can benefit from physical therapy. Because there are various types of arthritis, the methods used in physical therapy will be different, as will the potential outcomes of the physical therapy. The goals of the patients will differ too.

In this article, we will look at the most common types of arthritis, the types of physical therapy that might help, and the possible outcomes of receiving physical therapy.

 

The Two Most Common Types of Arthritis

Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis are the two most common types of arthritis. While both types can initially be similar in their symptoms, their causes are dramatically different.

Osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear on the joints of the body. It often takes years for the symptoms to build, so it gradually gets worse. Obesity has a strong correlation with this type of arthritis, particularly in the knees. The previous injury can also contribute to the onset of osteoarthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. Its cause isn’t known, but it is thought to affect about 0.2% of the population. Rheumatoid arthritis has a much more sudden onset than osteoarthritis. Symptoms can get much worse over the course of weeks, and they often include swelling of the joints.

 

What Types of Physical Therapy are there?

Physical therapy can be broadly divided into two categories: passive treatments and active treatments.

Passive treatments are often helpful with severe cases of osteoarthritis and early cases of rheumatoid arthritis. They include hydrotherapy, massage, heat and cold therapy, or ultrasound. For those in too much pain to begin active therapy, these options can help get them ready to start becoming more active.

Active therapy can be used to prevent osteoarthritis from becoming worse. It can also be used once sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis are able to increase their range of motion and activity. Active therapy includes flexibility and strength training, aerobic exercise, and some forms of hydrotherapy.

Active therapy will help patients reduce pain, gain strength, and increase flexibility and range of motion. It can also help with weight loss, which can be a main contributing factor to the pain caused by arthritis.

 

The Outcome of Physical Therapy

When starting physical therapy, patients should clearly specify the goals they want to achieve. Clearly informing your physical therapist what your desired objectives are will assist them in creating a customized personal plan that is right for you. You might have a goal as simple as getting out of your car without feeling pain, or it might be a bigger one like running a 5 km race as you used to. Whatever it is, a physical therapist can set you on the right path for achieving your goals.

 

If you or a loved one are suffering from arthritis, contact Preferred Therapy Solutions and how our clinical model can assist your facility contact Jim MacManus, Director of Business Development at jmacmanus@preftherapy.com. #itsallaboutthepatient.

Occupational vs. Physical Therapy: Which Can Help You Most?

On the surface, occupational therapy and physical therapy seem incredibly similar. Both therapy types focus on rehabilitation, often for patients who are recovering from an injury or procedure. Therapists in both fields often work closely together, creating cohesive treatment plans for patients who require both services. And while there is a lot of overlap between the two fields, the most obvious difference is in the end goal. Put simply, physical therapy is meant to help you move, while occupational therapy is to help you do.

Physical Therapy

The goal of physical therapy is to help patients get back on their feet—sometimes literally! Physical therapists (PTs) are movement experts who focus on reducing pain, restoring movement, and improving gross motor skills in the patients they work with. Physical therapy also focuses on building strength to prevent a similar injury from occurring in the future.

PTs not only do hands-on work with their patients, but they also provide emotional support! Most therapists understand the emotional toll an injury can have on a person, and they often become cheerleaders for their patients—encouraging them and applauding them every step of the way. One of the aims of physical therapy is to give patients independence and strength to follow through with rehabilitation after their treatments have ended.

Occupational Therapy

The goal of occupational therapy is to help patients perform tasks that they need or want to accomplish. Occupational therapists (OTs) do this by adaptation. In most cases, the activity, environment, or patient’s skills will need to be modified to accomplish tasks that may seem mundane to a person in relatively good health. OTs often help patients to improve their fine motor skills after neurological damage or after an injury.

When developing treatment plans, OTs take the whole person into account and consider how their environment, emotional state, and physical limitations will affect their participation in activities. Occupational therapy aims to give patients independence as they learn to navigate daily tasks in a way that works for them.

A Practical Approach to Rehabilitation

Uh-oh—you’ve broken your hand! A doctor examines you and determines that you have not only broken a few bones, but you also have nerve damage. After the initial healing stages are complete, she refers you to physical and occupational therapists.

Your physical therapist is sorry to hear that you hurt your hand, but confident that you can regain strength! They determine your current range of motion and then demonstrate exercises you can do to start improving your strength. You keep doing your exercises at home and you feel your strength improving. But you’re still having a hard time making your fingers fully cooperate with you—that pesky nerve damage has done a number on them!

Your occupational therapist hears your concerns and is ready for battle. They start with something simple: brushing your teeth. You’re finding it difficult to hold a toothbrush and move it across your teeth, so they help you modify the activity to something you can accomplish. You know you still have a long way to go, but you’re already feeling way more confident about keeping up with your regular routine.

 

Both physical and occupational therapy can be crucial to helping patients recover fully from injuries. If you’ve been referred for therapy, check out Preferred Therapy Outpatient and Wellness of Bethel. Our team is ready to work with you!

Older Americans Month: Age My Way

May is a special time of year, all the buds start to bloom and a colorful landscape comes to life. This May, as we take in the sights and sounds of spring, May also celebrates Older American Month. The theme for 2022 is Age My Way with a focus on how older adults can age independently and participate in activities they choose. While your spring unfolds, remember to reach out to the older adults in your lives and in the community, and engage with them in their favorite activity or two. Whether it be gardening, music events, bike riding, or baking get involved, participate, and stay connected with our older population. #OlderAmericansMonth #stayconnected #AgeMyWay

National Healthcare Month and World Immunization Week—What Is Their Significance?

In the United States, April is considered the National Interprofessional Healthcare Month. Globally, the last week of April is World Immunization Week. If you’re wondering why they’re important, read on to learn more.

National Healthcare Month and World Immunization Week

Interdisciplinary healthcare is what keeps the public healthy at large. Multiple disciplines of medicine often have to come together and work in unison to diagnose, treat, cure, and even prevent illnesses. Based on this principle, NAP declared April as Interprofessional Healthcare Month at the 2016 Forum in Baltimore, Maryland.

Immunization has helped humankind reduce and even eradicate some preventable diseases. With the COVID-19 pandemic reminding the world of the importance of vaccination, there is no time better than now to inform and increase awareness of immunization. It is incredibly important for the public to be aware of the recommended vaccination schedules for children and adults and adhere to them in a timely fashion.

Let us also discuss a few other health observances happening in April and their significance.

Stress Awareness Month

The American Psychological Association estimates that 34% of Gen Z adults, 21% of millennials, 19% of boomers, and 8% of older adults felt extremely restless from the stress they were experiencing. These numbers have also gone up steadily over the years. From this, it wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that the average American is stressed. Stress causes various mental health issues that, if left untreated, may also manifest as physical issues. If you are a mental health provider that is looking to help your patients better, Preferred Therapy Solutions is here to help with its unique plans that are tailor-made with the end-user in mind.

Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month

April is deemed Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month as it is the birth month of James Parkinson, the first physician to describe the disease. Every year, it serves as an opportunity to raise awareness about the disease and its symptoms, and provide support to those who have been affected by it. Parkinson’s disease is a long-term ailment in which the central nervous system degenerates, and the motor system suffers as a result. The symptoms include tremors, loss of balance, stiffness, etc. If you are a caregiving facility or a provider with patients suffering from PD, you could greatly benefit from the expertise offered by our team.

Autism Awareness Month

Anybody who works with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) knows how serious of a developmental disorder it is. It can put its patients on a spectrum of behavioral and communicative problems, ranging from mild to severe. Although campaigns like #CelebrateDifferences by the Autism Society of America are working towards the goal, autism acceptance is still far from being achieved at this point.

To learn more about Preferred Therapy Solutions and how our clinical model can assist your facility contact Jim MacManus, Director of Business Development at jmacmanus@preftherapy.com. #itsallaboutthepatient.

About Preferred Therapy Solutions

Preferred Therapy Solutions is a full-service rehabilitation management organization dedicated to providing state-of-the-art clinical, management, billing, and information technology solutions to the post-acute and long-term care industry. Preferred Therapy Solutions is able to assist in developing a strategic road map designed to increase SNFs market share by identifying potential referral targets and providing useful information on competitors’ performance. Preferred Therapy Solutions’ abilities significantly enhance the quality, productivity, scope, and efficiency of any facility’s rehabilitation department while maintaining a focus on achieving high levels of patient satisfaction and providing excellent customer service.

CMS Releases FY 2023 Proposed Rule

BACKGROUND

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are legally required to update the Medicare payment rates and quality programs on an annual basis. Each April, CMS publishes a proposed rule for the upcoming fiscal year (FY) and opens a comment period for stakeholders to review and provide comments to CMS before releasing the final rule.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

On April 11th CMS issued proposed rule CMS-1765-P for FY 2023. This proposed rule contains many areas of importance and significance for SNF providers specifically as it relates to payment, quality, staffing, and more.

Preferred Therapy Solutions is thoroughly reviewing the proposed rule and has planned an in-depth webinar for May 17th, which has already received program approval from the National Association of Long Term Care Administrators Board (NAB).

Key elements of the proposed rule include:

  • PAYMENT UPDATES
    CMS estimates the aggregate impact of payment policies would result in a decrease of approximately $320 million in Medicare Part A payments to SNFs in FY 2023
  • The actual payment update for FY 2023 is a 3.9% increase based on SNF market basket and forecast error adjustments but this increase is offset by a 4.6% decrease in SNF PPS rates as a result of a proposed recalibrated parity adjustment
  • An additional $186 million in reductions is estimated based on the SNF VBP program

UPDATED BASE RATES FOR PDPM COMPONENTS

PATIENT DRIVEN PAYMENT MODEL

  •  Recalibrating the PDPM Parity Adjustment
    • The purpose of the parity adjustment is to ensure budget neutrality between RUG-IV and PDPM
    • In last year’s proposed and final rules, CMS shared that the transition from RUG-IV to PDPM was not budget neutral with a 5% increase in Medicare Part A payments to SNFs under PDPM. They sought feedback from stakeholders regarding how and when to recalibrate the PDPM parity adjustment, but never proposed an actual parity adjustment
    • In this year’s proposed rule, CMS improved its methodology to determine the necessary parity adjustment and is proposing a 4.6% decrease in PDPM payments
    • CMS is proposing to accomplish the parity adjustment by recalibrating all PDPM CMI’s equally (PT, OT, SLP, Nursing, and NTA)
    • CMS is proposing to implement the entire recalibration all at once, without delay or phase-in
  • CMS is proposing several changes to the PDPM ICD-10 code mappings and lists

SNF QUALITY REPORTING PROGRAM (QRP)

  • CMS is proposing to adopt one new quality measure to become part of the SNF QRP for FY 2025: Influenza Vaccination Coverage among Healthcare Personnel (HCP) measure
  • CMS is proposing to revise the compliance dates for specific SNF QRP requirements
  • CMS is seeking comments on 3 subjects
    • Future measures for SNF QRP
    • Overarching principles for measuring equity and healthcare disparities
    • Inclusion of CoreQ: Short Stay Discharge Measure in the SNF QRP

SNF VALUE-BASED PURCHASING (VBP) PROGRAM

  • CMS is proposing to suppress the SNF 30-day All-Cause Readmission Measure for the FY 2023 SNF VBP due to the COVID-19 PHE
    • In order to maintain compliance with the statutory requirements of the SNF VBP program, CMS is proposing to do the same process implemented last year as it relates to the SNF VBP
      • CMS will continue to withhold 2% of Medicare Part A FFS payments per statute
      • CMS will “award” SNF’s 60% of the withhold, resulting in a 1.2% payback
      • The proposal will result in 0.8% decrease in Medicare Part A FFS payments for all SNF’s except those that are subject to the Low Volume Adjustment policy
  • CMS is proposing to add two new measures to the FY 2026 SNF VBP and one new measure to the FY 2027 SNF VBP
    • FY 2026: addition of SNF Healthcare-Associated Infections Requiring Hospitalization and Total Nursing Hours per Resident Day measures
    • FY 2027: addition of Discharge to Community – Post-Acute Care Measure for SNFs
  • CMS is seeking feedback on the following for the SNF VBP
    • Implementing a Nursing Home Staff Turnover measure
    • Scoring methodology and how it converts to incentive payments
    • Incorporating adjustments related to health equity

Finally, Preferred Therapy Solutions will be submitting comments and feedback to CMS to advocate for therapy services, SNF providers, and most importantly, the residents we are privileged to serve. We encourage all providers to do the same!

NAB APPROVED WEBINAR
Join our webinar on May 17th to learn more about the proposed rule and how to advocate for our industry and patients. Details and links to join this webinar will be provided at a later date.

Preferred Therapy Solutions continues to provide vital information that may impact rehabilitation management, reimbursement policies, and clinical programs, supported by compliance and regulatory requirements that are necessary for a thorough understanding of practices and procedures. If you have any questions, please contact Matt Nash, Vice President of Strategy and Business Development: mnash@preftherapy.com

REDUCE HOSPITAL READMISSIONS

April showers bring May flowers, which may be true, but during the month of April, a significant celebration is in order, it’s Occupational Therapy (OT) Month. The contributions of the OT profession are paramount to healthcare by helping people reach their goals through rehabilitative therapy programs. Celebrate this April by implementing a strong Transition to the Community program. Preferred Therapy Solutions’ experienced occupational therapy unit can assist your facility in growing your customized Transition to the Community program and assist in the reduction of hospital readmissions. Click on the below link to learn how Preferred Therapy Solutions’ clinical model enhances the improvement of patients’ conditions allowing patients to remain functional, and therefore, aids in a seamless transition to their next level of care with a concentration on avoiding hospital readmission.

Occupational Therapy Month_VF

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT OSHA INSPECTIONS

BACKGROUND

On March 7th, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced highly focused inspections directed at hospitals and skilled nursing care facilities that treat or handle COVID-19 patients. The timeframe will be from March 9,- June 9, 2022.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

OSHA’s goal is to expand its presence to ensure the following:

  • Continued mitigation to control the spread of COVID-19 and future variants
  • Compliance with infection control policies and standards, including appropriate fit testing and required documentation for the use of N95 masks
  • Protect the health and safety of healthcare workers at heightened risk for contracting the virus
  • Complete follow-up inspections at sites that were previously issued citations

The Department of Labor’s memorandum on OSHA’s inspections can be found here.

Preferred Therapy Solutions continues to provide vital information that may impact rehabilitation management, reimbursement policies, and clinical programs, supported with compliance and regulatory requirements that are necessary for a thorough understanding of practices and procedures. If you have any questions, please contact Maria Maggi, Vice President of Quality, Outcomes, and Compliance at mmaggi@preftherapy.com

Solutions Syllabus: Quality Measures

Preferred Therapy Solutions is hosting a monthly educational series based on the RAI Manual for coding the MDS to ensure accuracy with Quality Measures (QMs).

Our Solutions Syllabus will provide extensive guidance on the importance of accurate coding of the MDS and the impact on Quality Measures. This educational series will include a comprehensive guide on QM’s and corresponding MDS sections that affect regulatory programs such as 5-Star and are publicly reported through Care Compare. Understanding the data and the significance of coding is vital for SNFs and LTC communities to thrive in the ever-changing healthcare industry.

Throughout the year, we will cover several QMs for an in-depth review. REGISTER NOW FOR THESE INFORMATIVE SESSIONS

MARCH 22 | 1:30 PM | CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
Introduction to QMs: Quality Measures Made Easy

APRIL 26 | 1:30 PM | CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
MDS Section G – QMs Related to Daily Activities and Mobility
This program has been approved for Continuing
Education for 0.50 total participant hours by
NAB/NCERS—Approval #20230425-0.50-A83211-DL

MAY 31 | 1:30 PM | CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
MDS Section J – QMs Related to Falls
NAB/NCERS—Approval #20230530-0.50-A83992-DL

JUNE 28 | 1:30 PM | CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
MDS Section GG QM Self Care & Mobility
This program is pending NAB/NCERS—Approval

COVID-19 PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY EXTENDED

NEWS FROM U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
This past week Xavier Becerra, United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, announced the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) extension. This extension will be for an additional 90 days. The NEW expiration date for the COVID-19 PHE is scheduled for, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. The United States Department of Health and Human Services official announcement can be located by visiting their website at https://www.phe.gov/emergency/news/healthactions/phe/Pages/COVID-15April2021.aspx

Preferred Therapy Solutions continues to provide vital information that may impact rehabilitation management, reimbursement policies, and clinical programs, supported with compliance and regulatory requirements that are necessary for a thorough understanding of practices and procedures. If you have any questions, please contact Maria Maggi, Vice President of Quality, Outcomes, and Compliance at mmaggi@preftherapy.com.