Over the course of only a few months, the mental and behavioral health industry has procured increased awareness and advocacy for legitimizing the significance of both mental illnesses and behavioral health disorders. With over 40 million people suffering from depression and anxiety in the United States, 36.9% of them seek treatment while the other 38.5 million are facing it alone (1). As society becomes more aware of these issues, it is important that healthcare providers only continue to intervene by making services more accessible and affordable for the public. This second installment of our “Patient Innovation” #rtblogseries focuses on the differences between mental and behavioral health as well as discusses new technologies that have made virtual care more efficient and reliable for patients.
This year has truly changed the face of healthcare, both for the better and worse. With the pandemic, medical professionals have had to juggle an influx of new safety procedures as well as overcome the restrictions and liabilities of continuously providing services during a time when fear and panic are heavily influencing patient behavior in terms of electronic payment trends, increased scheduling flexibility and progressive preferences for alternative methods of care. These evolving segments of healthcare are leading to a surge of virtual innovations for both clinical management and patient engagement, including the overwhelming growth of remote patient monitoring (RPM) within certain medical specialties such as behavioral health, pulmonology, chronic pain management and more.
As of August 3, two proposals have been made that will change healthcare delivery now and even after the pandemic is over. Both positive and negative, the first was announced by President Trump’s administration to propose expanded beneficiary access to telehealth for rural communities and the second was proposed by CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) to implement up to 9% payment cuts for both physical and occupational therapy. You can learn more about these propositions and how they will affect patient care by clicking on the links below.
With 9 different locations throughout Michigan, Dearborn Speech and Sensory Center Inc, also known as Metro EHS, aims to provide the highest quality clinical care to both children and adults with intellectual as well as developmental disabilities. Their range of services include speech, occupational and physical therapy in addition to ABA (applied behavioral analysis), sensory integration treatments, feeding and gross motor coordination. They also cater to those with attention deficit disorders and developmental delays.
As of early March, telehealth has become the new alternative method of healthcare delivery and has accounted for a majority of patient visits during the beginning of this year. With the adoption of telehealth services becoming more common in late February, it wasn’t until mid April that an overwhelming influx of telehealth visits were scheduled. However, recent studies show a gradual decline in telehealth visits near the end of May, resulting in a significant drop off in June and now July. While certain medical specialties such as dermatology and rheumatology have seen a resurgence of in-person visits, others, particularly physical therapy, pulmonology and some surgical specialties have been most affected by the pandemic and are still seeing in-clinic visit rates below the baseline. This means that for some healthcare providers, telehealth solutions, as of now, are their primary resource to continue caring for their patients. That is why we wanted to list a few different types of telehealth and their benefits in addition to offering some strategic insights of implementing virtual care.
As a strategic partner of the Alliance for Physical Therapy Quality and Innovation (APTQI), Raintree stands with their commitment to elevating patient care and providing value management for PT, OT and SLP practices. With the healthcare industry rapidly changing due to the uncertainty of COVID-19, Medicare reimbursements have continued to play a vital role in allowing physical therapists to offer alternative methods of care such as telehealth. However, due to the budget neutrality requirements that limit federal spending during the time of a waiver period, Congress is now considering increased rates for evaluation and management (E/M) billing codes. This change would go into effect at the start of the new year (2021) and result in an estimated 8% cut for therapy services.
Located in Covington, Louisiana, Pediatric Therapy Northshore is a private therapy clinic that offers a variety of sensory based treatments, allowing for individualized intervention and quality care. Their services include speech, occupational, music and feeding therapy all of which are provided by their female led team of expert therapists whom a majority have attained Master degrees in the field of Communication Disorders, Occupational Therapy and the Arts.
With five locations throughout southern Maine, Greater Brunswick & Core Physical Therapy has been providing skilled and passionate care since 1988. While they primarily focus on holistic and physical therapy, they also provide craniosacral, pelvic, neuromuscular and orthopedic therapy via aquatics, taping, massage and personal training services.
Over these past few months, the healthcare industry has been actively following the rules, updates and changes made by CMS. Primarily, the rise of telehealth has become a priority for the government to accept and allow medical providers, in particular physical therapists, the ability to offer virtual patient care through the use of video chat resources. While only certain providers were eligible, CMS has recently announced that they will now reimburse physical therapists for services rendered in outpatient settings. This emergency waiver includes PT, OT and SLP specialties and will last for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.
Kidz Therapeze is a local practice located in Bell County, Texas that provides physical, occupational and speech therapy to children with developmental disabilities. Their mission is to engage children in a positive, interactive environment that motivates them to participate in their communities and at home with their families.