"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

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Medicare Spending Flattens in 2011

2011 has been, so far, a good year for budget hawks.

A new report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that Medicare spending has flattened its steep climb, down from about 6% in 2010 to about 3% in 2011. The five-year average increase in Medicare spending has been about 7%, from 2006 - 2011.
"Outlays for the three largest entitlement programs— Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—rose by just over 3 percent in 2011, after an adjustment for payment shifts.
That increase was well below the growth of 6 percent recorded in 2010 and the roughly 7 percent average annual growth over the past five years—partly because previously legislated increases in the federal share of Medicaid’s costs expired; for the second year in a row, there was no cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security beneficiaries.
Outlays for the three programs equaled 9.8 percent of GDP, about the same as in 2010."
Why Should Physical Therapists Care About Out-of-Control Medicare Spending?

Aside from our dual role as American taxpayers, rapidly increasing Medicare spending strains the ability of Medicare to remain solvent.

Budget hawks are people who believe that smaller government budgets automatically improve everybody's economic well-being. Therefore, right now, many in the Congress are trying to implement across-the-board cuts to Medicare.

Recent evidence from the Urban Institute indicates that across-the-board cuts will lead to poorer health outcomes for some Medicare beneficiaries.

The flattened spending curve in 2011 may remove some of the pressure for across-the-board Medicare cuts in 2012.

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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 .

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