In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,1 Stephen R. Covey emphasized the transition from dependence to independence through self-mastery, interdependence, and self-renewal. As we enter 2013, physical therapists and physical therapist assistants have the opportunity to partake in this journey as we define our role in health care reform and respond to recent Medicare changes. The first step is self-mastery and includes 3 basic habits:
1. Be Proactive
We applaud the APTA for its actions in addressing the multiple procedure payment reductions and the extension of the therapy cap exception process of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (HR 8). The APTA has also provided guidance regarding the functional limitation reporting requirement for Medicare Part B services. As providers of oncology rehabilitation, we must be proactive in educating other health care providers and the public regarding the benefits of physical therapy services to support appropriate reimbursement. We must make a conscious decision to improve our marketing efforts at the local, regional, and national levels. We must also identify and address any knowledge deficits that may affect a therapist's ability to provide high quality care. The Oncology Section will provide programming at CSM regarding program start-up, plan of care development and progression for multiple cancer types, and the selection of appropriate assessment tools to quantify the severity and complexity of our patients. We are excited to announce that our application for specialization has been submitted and we are eagerly awaiting the initial reviews. We have an Education Task Force that is working on curriculum guidelines for entry level physical therapy programs and the development of a lymphedema training program for rehabilitative therapists. We are currently upgrading our web site for an easier, more interactive experience that allows our members and consumers to quickly locate resources as we address the new mandates and evolution of health care delivery. In the next month you will be able to Follow us on Twitter, Link In with us, and Like us on Facebook as we increase awareness of oncology rehabilitation and our role as providers of choice.
2. Begin with the End in Mind
Medicare Functional Limitation Reporting has begun with a January to June test period. As you consider functional assessment tools, I ask that you begin with the end in mind. Think about how Medicare plans to use this information to improve health care and fiscal responsibility. Review the literature for recommendations from physical therapy and/or rehabilitative communities for reliable and valid assessment tools. Although there is no definite recommendation from Medicare regarding assessment tools, consider the use of tools that are reliable and valid for cancer populations. The Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center has recently provided open access to the Cancer Rehabilitation Evaluation System (CARES).2 Assessment tools, such as the CARES, coupled with recommendations from the various EDGE Task Forces for impairment specific tools will assist you as a therapist in meeting Medicare requirements. In the next 3 months, the Section will publicize a list of reliable and valid tools for various impairments and age groups to further aid you. We are not mandating the use of these tools, but our goal is minimizing variation in the Medicare database that may negatively affect future evaluations of physical therapy services.
3. Put First Things First
During these times of changes, pay attention first to what is important and not urgent. Important and urgent are not the same. I admit there are events or tasks that may be both, but their occurrence is few with proper planning. Be diligent in understanding the health care changes and contemplating your organizational responses. Although we may feel a rush to quickly implement tools, please make educated choices regarding assessment tools. The important issue is efficiently and effectively assessing your patients, which will support the profession's role in health care delivery.
I wish you prosperity and good health in the New Year. These are definitely exciting times.
1. Covey SR. Covey. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
Running Press Miniature Editions; MIN ed. 2000.
2. Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. http://www.cancer.ucla.edu/Index.aspx?page=1221
. Accessed January 7, 2013.