The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), Alexandria, Va, was recently contacted by members about a bill introduced by Rep Earl Pomeroy (D-ND), supported by the American Hospital Association, which would provide hospitals relief from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) regulations with respect to direct supervision of outpatient therapeutic services by requiring CMS to change its current policy and allow for a default setting of general supervision for outpatient therapeutic services. These services do not include physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech-language pathology.
The Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS), established April 2000, included a provision that would require direct physician supervision of therapeutic services paid under the OPPS fee schedule. When CMS issued the final rule establishing the OPPS in 2000, the agency clarified that physical therapy services were considered a separate benefit under the Social Security Act and, as a result, did not require the direct supervision of a physician.
APTA members can read the summary on the OPPS, which clarifies the direct supervision provision, on the organization’s Web site.