By Frank Long, MS, Editorial Director
CMS taketh from PT/OT and giveth to physicians. The final rule from the 2021 Physician Fee Schedule moves Medicare money for rehab services provided by skilled nursing into office-based care provided by primary care physicians.
The 9% cut comes on top of an 8% cut therapy providers took on last year.
The rule was written to give certain primary care physicians a pay boost. Nurse practitioner services will also get a pay increase (7%) but only in an office setting; when billed in a nursing facility, there will be a decrease.McKnight’s Long Term Care News
Cynthia Morton, executive vice president of the National Association of Support for Long Term Care, told McKnight’s Long Term Care News, “Services like rehab therapies that patients need to strengthen their mobility after being in a bed for a long time, X-rays to detect problems in their lungs from COVID-19, and nurse practitioner services are being cut.”
One one hand CMS is very helpful to nursing facility providers, Morton observes, but with the other hand, “…is cutting these vital services pretty deeply that are going to hurt provider’s abilities to provide these critical services.”
A Way Out?
Despite the CMS announcement there may be a way around the cut temporarily. The APTA is rallying support for H.R. 8702, the Holding Providers Harmless From Medicare Cuts During COVID-19 Act of 2020.
The legislation, according to the association, could help to offset the 9% reduction for codes tied to Part B physical therapist services. The APTA is asking its members to voice their objections to their respective members of Congress as part of its Dec. 3 virtual #FightTheCut rally.
The event is scheduled to begin 9 a.m. Eastern Time and can be viewed live on the APTA website or by logging onto YouTube.
[ RELATED: Check status of H.R. 8702 and see the bill summary. ]