Brace for rehab pay shifts, expert warns

At least one expert believes that measuring and billing therapy in minutes will be gone within a few years, giving way to other ways to measure and reward.
At least one expert believes that measuring and billing therapy in minutes will be gone within a few years, giving way to other ways to measure and reward.

Tracking therapy minutes may become a thing of the past within the next few years as payment models shift to focus on patient characteristics, experts warned during a conference in October.

“Massive” changes are coming as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services adopt more alternative payment models, and groups such as the Office of Inspector General place more scrutiny on therapy billing, said Dan Ciolek, associate vice president for therapy advocacy for the American Health Care Association at the group's annual convention.

Nanci Wilson, vice president of research and development for Plum Healthcare Group LLC, agreed that the push toward value-based reimbursements will mean big changes for providers. 

“I think we're going to have a major, major Armageddon with therapy,” Wilson said. “Probably in two years we're going to not have therapy minutes.”

Ciolek added that reports that slam high therapy levels as incentives for payment contradict evidence that show increased therapy hours help residents.