Reach out to your representative and senators
If you are out of your clinic for continuing education, illness, jury duty, family obligations, or a vacation, does your clinic have enough Medicare credentialed physical therapists to be able to rearrange schedules so that all of your Medicare patients are able to be seen without delay? If not, then your patients and your practice’s bottom line would benefit if you were able to hire a locum tenens—a qualified substitute physical therapist—to fill in for up to 60 days. Under Medicare’s locum tenens program Medicare is billed for the services provided by the substitute provider, using the NPI of the enrolled provider and the Q6 modifier—allowing you to maintain revenue flow and enable your patients’ care to proceed without interruption.
Since 2017, physical therapists whose outpatient clinics are located in rural, medically underserved, and designated Health Professional Shortage Areas1 have been able to hire a qualified substitute therapist on a short-term basis.2 The reintroduced Prevent Interruptions in Physical Therapy Act (S.793/H.R.1617) seeks to expand the current program so that all physical therapists nationwide could hire a locum tenens to care for their Medicare beneficiary patients. The need for a locum tenens to ensure continued patient care hinges on whether that clinic has enough Medicare enrolled physical therapists, not the physical location of the clinic. If you are unable to hire a licensed substitute physical therapist on a short term basis to fill this gap, care is delayed and the small business’ revenue flow is also interrupted.
If expansion of the locum tenens program would protect your patients’ access to care and make a difference to your bottom line, reach out to your Representative and Senators, share examples of how you’d use the policy to benefit patients, and ask them to cosponsor the bipartisan Prevent Interruptions in Physical Therapy Act (S.793/H.R.1617).
2As a result of the 21st Century Cures Act, Section 16006. Public Law 114-255 (12/13/2016). Bill language available at: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/PLAW-114publ255/pdf/PLAW-114publ255.pdf, pp296.