"Physical therapy is not a subspecialty of the medical profession and physical therapists are not medical doctors; we are a separate profession that provides a unique service that physicians are unable and untrained to provide."

Letter to the AMA from the APTA, Dec 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Medicare Taxonomy for Physical Therapists

I am not a doctor.

I don't even play one on T.V.

I don't have a Ph.D.

I don't have a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT).

I'm a physical therapist (PT).

That's it.

And, I present material in this blog that some people may associate with post-graduate instruction, legal advice or consulting on Medicare compliance.

That would be a mistake.

All I do is treat patients with physical therapy, write my notes and try to understand our nation's Medicare program as it applies to outpatient physical therapy services.

To help the process of Medicare compliance I created my alternate website, Bulletproof Physical Therapy Notes and Charts with free government and professional resources on making a do-it-yourself Medicare compliance program.

Isn't that the way most physical therapists are?


Ultimately, I intend to create a taxonomy that students and non-professionals can use to understand the work we physical therapists do for our Medicare patients.

It's crazy that I can describe Medicare with taxonomy, a word originally used to describe the complexity of living organisms.

Now, Medicare compliance is completely the jurisdiction of "Medicare auditors"
  • un-elected

  • un-licensed (as auditors)

  • non-peer reviewed
..."experts" that get paid to look at your notes.

Don't get me wrong - everybody deserves a chance to make a living - even Medicare auditors.

The $3 billion Medicare program needs auditors - to catch the bad guys.

That $3 billion attracts a lot of bad guys.

But, physical therapists usually aren't bad guys (or girls).

What physical therapists need is a simpler, less intimidating process to...
  • document our findings
  • show medical necessity
  • show progress
  • show skilled decisions
  • help patients without taking ridiculous risks
Am I the only one who thinks this way?

Free Tutorial

Get free stuff at BulletproofPT.com

Tim Richardson, PT owns a private practice at Medical Arts Rehabilitation, Inc in Palmetto, Florida. The clinic website is at MedicalArtsRehab.com.

Bulletproof Expert Systems: Clinical Decision Support for Physical Therapists in the Outpatient Setting is a manager's workbook with stories, checklists, charts, graphs, tables, and templates describing how you can use paper-based or computerized tools to improve your clinic's Medicare compliance, process adherence and patient outcomes.

Tim has implemented a computerized Clinical Decision Support (CDS) system in his clinic since 2006 that serves as a Reminder, Alerting, Prompting and Predicting CDS using evidence-based tests and measures.

Tim can be reached at
TimRichPT@BulletproofPT.com .

"Make Decisions like Doctors"

Copyright 2007-2010 by Tim Richardson, PT.
No reproduction without authorization.

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American Physical Therapy Association

American Physical Therapy Association
Consistent with the American Physical Therapy Association Vision Statement for Physical Therapy 2020, the American Physical Therapy Association supports exclusive physical therapist ownership and operation of physical therapy services.