UPDATED September 17, 2021
The PPS COVID-19 State of Affairs document is updated weekly, with the newest information highlighted in red, to help you keep abreast of the most recent legislative and regulatory updates. Here are some important notes this week:
HHS Stimulus Payment (aka Provider Relief Fund)
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) updated its FAQs on 8/30/2021. The FAQs are now in a searchable database format.
Providers have at least 12 months, and as much as 18 months, based on the payment received date--the payment is considered received on the deposit date for automated clearing house (ACH) payments, or the check cashed date for all other payments--to control and use the payments for expenses and lost revenues attributable to coronavirus incurred during the Period of Availability.
Deadlines for reporting requirements:
Reporting period 1. Providers who received an aggregate payment exceeding $10,000 between April 10, 2020, and June 30, 2020, have until June 30, 2021, to use their funds and from July 1-September 30, 2021, to submit their reports.
**HRSA announced a 60-Day grace period for period 1 (ending on November 30, 2021). The deadline has not changed, but the grace period allows providers to come into compliance with their PRF reporting requirements, should they fail to meet the September 30, 2021 deadline. This grace period only pertains to the report submission deadline. There is no change to the Period of Availability for use of PRF payments.
Provider Relief Fund recipients must use payments only for eligible expenses, including services rendered and lost revenues attributable to coronavirus, incurred by the end of the Period of Availability that corresponds to the Payment Received Period. Providers are required to maintain supporting documentation that demonstrates that costs were incurred during the Period of Availability, as required under the Terms and Conditions. However, providers are not required to submit that documentation when reporting. Providers must promptly submit copies of such supporting documentation upon the request of the Secretary of HHS. Examples of costs incurred for an entity using accrual accounting, during the Period of Availability include:
Services that were received
Renovation or construction that was completed
Tangible property ordered, but need not have been delivered
For purchases of tangible items made using PRF payments, the purchase does not need to be in the provider’s possession (i.e., back-ordered PPE, ambulance, etc.) to be considered an eligible expense but the costs must be incurred by the end of the Period of Availability. Providers must follow their basis of accounting (e.g., cash, accrual, or modified accrual) to determine expenses. For projects that are a bundle of services and purchases of tangible items that cannot be separated, such as capital projects, construction projects, or alteration and renovation projects, the project costs cannot be reimbursed using Provider Relief Fund payments unless the project was fully completed by the end of Period of Availability associated with the Payment Received Period.
HHS reserves the right to audit Provider Relief Fund recipients now or in the future, and may pursue collection activity to recover any Provider Relief Fund payment amounts that have not been supported by documentation or payments not used in a manner consistent with program requirements or applicable law. All payment recipients must attest to the Terms and Conditions, which require maintaining documentation to substantiate that these funds were used for healthcare-related expenses or lost revenues attributable to coronavirus.
Join Us June 17, 2021, at 4 PM EST for a FREE Administrators’ Network Webinar
In healthcare's shifting environment, it becomes challenging to keep up with all the changes; however, one critical success point remains to have a solid voluntary Corporate Compliance Plan for the practice. This web event will explore the seven elements necessary to comply with OIG's compliance program. We will discuss their recommendations and how to put them into behaviors before any criminal conduct or violation of the law occurs.
Join Connie Ziccarelli, past Administrator's Network Chairperson, as she explores this topic and shares simple ways to make compliance a part of your practice culture.
During the presentation, we will cover:
-7 Elements of a Voluntary Compliance Program
-How to implement a new program or update an existing program
At the 2020 Annual Conference Business Meeting, the Board of Directors announced a proposal to change the name of the section to APTA Business: A Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. This proposal is the result of significant research, thought and work from the Name Change Task Force. Please click here to review the materials and then share your thoughtful comments on this proposal as we continue the conversation.
As I am sure you have heard on the news, on Friday 12/14, a federal judge in a lower court in TX filed a decision that declared the Affordable Care Act to be unconstitutional. His decision hinged on the fact that last December's tax bill the fine for not obtaining health insurance was reduced to zero. The decision held that since that fine has bee reduced to zero, that "tax" has been functionally removed from the law.
The reason this argument matters is that when the Supreme Court evaluated the constitutionality of the ACA previously, it determined that in fact the government did have the authority to compel Americans to have health insurance coverage, citing the Constitution granting Congress the authority to tax and spend. In yesterday's decision, the judge determined that since the "tax" has been reduced to zero, that authority has been relinquished and therefore the whole law must be struck (because of the argument that the taxing authority granted to Congress was the sole reason that it was able to compel Americans to have health insurance--and that the existence of the entire law hinged upon the taxing authority).
The ruling will not impact the 2019 health insurance plans sold through the exchange/marketplace of healthcare.gov or the state equivalents. It also won't immediately affect Americans' health coverage. The most immediate impact could be upon whether or not states will continue to consider expanding Medicaid at a time when the effort might be for naught.
An appeal is inevitable and already being discussed by a group of states led by California. They are likely to argue that the amount of the fine is immaterial, and that the $0 amount is not the equivalent of repealing the tax/fine and that the law still contains (and has the authority to impose) a fine. Because of the high stakes, and the political aspect of the law, the appeal process is likely to make its way to the US Supreme Court. This will take time.
If the US Supreme Court upholds the argument that the entire Congressional authority hinges on whether or not there is a tax/fine of more than $0 imposed upon those who do not have health insurance coverage, then the entire law will be invalidated. If that is the case, Americans will lose pre-existing condition protections, the ability of folks to stay on their parents' health insurance up to age 26 and other provisions of the ACA that have recently become popular on both sides of the aisle and the preservation of which has been a PPS legislative priority.
In a closely watched case, Judge Reed O’Connor of the Federal District Court in Fort Worth, Texas ruled that the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, which Republicans zeroed out with their tax bill, “can no longer be sustained as an exercise of Congress’s tax power.” And the rest of the law cannot be separated from that provision and is therefore invalid, he wrote.
The New York Times: Texas Judge Strikes Down Obama’s Affordable Care Act As Unconstitutional
A federal judge in Texas struck down the entire Affordable Care Act on Friday on the grounds that its mandate requiring people to buy health insurance is unconstitutional and the rest of the law cannot stand without it. The ruling was over a lawsuit filed this year by a group of Republican governors and state attorneys general. A group of intervening states led by Democrats promised to appeal the decision, which will most likely not have any immediate effect. (Goodnough and Pear, 12/14)
The Associated Press: Federal Judge Rules Health Care Overhaul Unconstitutional
In a 55-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled that last year’s tax cut bill knocked the constitutional foundation from under “Obamacare” by eliminating a penalty for not having coverage. The rest of the law cannot be separated from that provision and is therefore invalid, he wrote. Supporters of the law immediately said they would appeal. “Today’s misguided ruling will not deter us: our coalition will continue to fight in court for the health and wellbeing of all Americans,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is leading a coalition of states defending the ACA. (Alonso-Zaldivar, 12/14)
Politico: Judge Rules Obamacare Unconstitutional, Endangering Coverage For 20 Million
“In some ways, the question before the Court involves the intent of both the 2010 and 2017 Congresses,” O’Connor wrote. “The former enacted the ACA. The latter sawed off the last leg it stood on.” (Demko and Cancryn, 12/14)
Texas Tribune: Federal Judge Rules Obamacare Unconstitutional, Handing Texas An Early Win
In a ruling that could throw the nation’s health care system into chaos, Fort Worth-based U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor on Friday ruled that a major provision of the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional — and that the rest of the landmark law must fall as well. In February, a Texas-led coalition of 20 states sued the federal government to end the health care law in its entirety, arguing that after Congress in December 2017 gutted one of its major provisions, the rest of the law was unconstitutional. (Platoff, 12/14)
Kaiser Health News: Judge Strikes Down ACA Putting Law In Legal Peril — Again
It is all but certain the case will become the third time the Supreme Court decides a constitutional question related to the ACA. In addition to upholding the law in 2012, the court rejected another challenge to the law in 2015. (Rovner, 12/14)
PPS’ legislative priorities call for us to address and mitigate the negative effects associated with physician self-referral. In August, PPS filed formal comments in response to CMS’ RFI on physician self-referral. On October 26th, PPS filed formal comments with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General urging both limits to the use of beneficiary incentives as well as transparency if providers are offering incentives to retain or induce patients to choose a particular provider. In both comments, PSS urged the prompt removal of PT from the IOASE and requesting increased accountability and transparency for referrals made utilizing the IOASE.
The PPS Administrators' Network was formerly known as the PPS Administrators Council. All members of the PPS Administrators Council have retained their active membership status and login credentials with the Administrators' Network and need not reapply.
PPS is more than a network of PTs, PTAs, and students. Every physical therapy clinic is home to at least one administrator who serves as the first point-of-contact for patients, oversees marketing, ensures compliance and proper coding, and more. PPS has a built a home for these invaluable staff with the PPS Administrators’ Network. Give your administrators and office managers the resources, education, and networking opportunities they need to serve your practice best by giving them a membership to the PPS Administrators' Network. Give your administrators and office managers the resources, education, and networking opportunities they need to serve your practice best by giving them access to the PPS Administrators' Network.
What are the Benefits?
ACCESS TO THE CERTIFIED ADMINISTRATOR PROGRAM Administrators who complete and pass the Administrators' Certification coursework are proficient in Billing & Coding, Legal Compliance, Human Resources, Business Operations, Marketing, Customer Service, and Financial Management.
After successful completion of 12 hours of coursework covering the above topics, students are tested on their knowledge and, if they pass, will be recognized as a PPS Certified Administrator. The certification coursework is available at PPS Annual Conference.
FREE QUARTERLY WEBINARS Designed to keep administrators up-to-date on the latest billing and coding information, compliance issues, marketing trends, and other relevant topics.
PEER NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES As a PPS member, you understand the value of peer networking, collaboration, and mentorship. Administrators' Network members enjoy the same benefits through in-person networking events, an exclusive online community, and membership directory.
LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT All Administrators are encouraged to participate in the development of the Network and its strategic initiatives through volunteer participation in committees and task forces.
FULL ACCESS TO PPS MEMBER RESOURCES Administrators' Network members receive the same discounts on educational conferences and materials as PPS members, they gain full-member access to the PPS website, and their own subscription to Impact Magazine where they can read articles written by their colleagues in Impact's Administrators Edge Column.
Who is Eligible?
The Administrators' Network welcomes all non-PT office managers and administrators employed by PPS members to be a part of the largest network of physical therapy clinic administrators in the country!
PPS has developed multiple educational video series to ensure that every PPS member has fundamental business management knowledge in Marketing, Finance, and Operations. The courses below can be accessed at anytime in the PPS Learning Center and are free to PPS members
In this 5-module, video series, learn how to define your target audience and develop a brand promise that engages customers. Discover marketing best practices, and tools to develop your marketing plan and accompanying budget. Finally, take a deep dive into three marketing strategies proven effective in marketing a physical therapy practice.
- Module 1: Defining your target audience & developing a brand promise
- Module 2: Developing a marketing plan and budget
- Module 3: Referral source marketing
- Module 4: Internal marketing
- Module 5: Consumer/community outreach & marketing
Operations 101 provides an introduction to Key Performance Indicators and outlines the standardized definitions of recommended KPI's used to manage physical therapy practices. In modules two and three of this 3-part series, participants will learn how to use data and metrics to successfully manage practice operations, and will develop a strategy to create successful KPI performance.
- Module 1: Introduction to Key Performance Indicators (KPI's)
- Module 2: Using KPI's in your Physical Therapy Practice
- Module 3: Management and Impact of KPI's on Your Practice
Finance 101 is a free, multi-module, video series that provides a solid foundation for those managing the finances of a physical therapy practice. The series was designed for non-financial people to gain improved understanding of bookkeeping methods, financial statements, and key terms requisite to successfully managing the finances of a physical therapy practice.
- Module 1: Setting the Stage: Introducing key financial terms and concepts
- Module 2: Finance for Non-Financial People
- Module 3: Financial Statements
- Module 4: Using Finance in Your Practice
- Module 5: Bringing it All Together
- Module 6: Real Life Questions
- Module 7: How To and Tools
Three years after being elected President of the American Physical Therapy Association, Sharon L. Dunn, PT, PhD, stood before the House of Delegates and delivered an invigorating address to the body of electorates who first voted her into leadership back in 2015. At the heart of her message was a repeated and compelling charge to act as she emphasized that it is not enough to call out inadequacies in the system, or to idly tweet about embracing change or promoting inclusion. No, she reiterated that as a profession we must band together and work collaboratively to secure the future of our profession.
“The members of the American Physical Therapy Association were bold enough to dream of transforming society,” she reminded, “Now we must deliver on that promise by following the most universal piece of advice we provide to our patients and clients: we must move!”
Memorable Quotes from President Dunn’s speech are highlighted below:
SETTING A NEW TONE FOR THE FUTURE
“Most of us in this room wear those battle scars—and quite proudly. But where our past was shaped with sharp elbows, our future must be shaped with open arms. Where our origins situated our profession in recovery and the treatment of disorder, our future will be characterized by an increased role in sustaining health and proactively preventing disability and disease. And where previously we have demanded respect in part by staking out turf and occasionally pointing to the shortcomings of others, in our future we will demonstrate our value based on the irrefutable data of our own outcomes and in partnership with our colleagues across disciplines. The health care system and our patients will demand nothing less."
QUESTING OVER RESTING
“We should approach our future with enthusiasm, not dread, because our profession has never been satisfied with our position within the status quo. Our existence has been one of almost constant self-challenging evolution. Our progress has never been inevitable; it has always been hard-earned. So if we truly desire to not only see society transformed but to shape that transformation, we must not only weather the storm of health care disruption. Instead, as Dr Alan Jette urged in his 2012 Mary McMillan Lecture, we must face into the storm and choose questing over resting.
WE MUST BE AGENTS, NOT CRITICS
"We cannot transform society through judgment. Our vision charges us not to stand at a distance and point our fingers at our nation's ills but instead to accept a personal responsibility to try to make a difference.
"At our core, we are healers, and as much as ever our country and our society need healing. It is not enough that we tweet about it in judgment. It is not enough that we adopt policies that articulate our principles. It is not enough that we sit idly by, in the comforts that were afforded by those who forged the path before us.
LET NO ONE FEEL LIKE AN OUTSIDER
"To fulfill our mission, our community must vastly improve our diversity by being intentional about inclusion. We must prioritize listening and learning. We must enable the next generation of physical therapists and physical therapist assistants to transform our association, just as our association must transform society. Most of all we must get involved—with open arms and open minds—not only as a community, but as individuals."
OUR MOST VALUABLE ASSET: AN ENGAGED MEMBER
"When we formally charge APTA to act, or simply daydream about "what APTA should do...," we sometimes behave as if we're writing a check for someone else to cash. But as an individual membership association, we are charging ourselves-we are writing our own to-do list. APTA is not a distant factory that churns out ready-to-order physical therapy progress on a conveyor belt. It's a community of physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students. It's our community. We are APTA, and APTA is us. Our association's growth, commitment, and determination cannot outpace our own personal development."
FOLLOW OUR DREAMS WITH OUR OWN FOOTSTEPS
"If, like I do, you anticipate a day when physical therapists, like dentists, are part of our society's regular health routines, don't just point the way—raise a hand and accept a portion of responsibility to take us there.
APTA President Sharon L. Dunn, PT, PhD, Board-Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist, was reelected to a second 3-year term, June 25, 2018. To read the full transcript of her 2018 address, or to watch the video, visit the APTA website.
The monthly toolkit is made up of free, ready-to-Share, professionally written, content for marketing your physical therapy practice to your community. We have monthly newsletters/blog posts, social media posts, and press release templates that can be copied and pasted, or customized to your practice with some simple edits. This month's theme, "Promoting the Annual PT Exam," encourages readers to schedule an annual PT exam with their family physical therapist. You are encouraged to take advantage of the newsletter, press release, and social media posts, in your own promotions of the annual PT exam.
If you have questions about how to incorporate a press release into your marketing plan, or how best to use the press release template provided each month by PPS, refer to this article by Michelle Collie, PT, DPT, MS: "Press Releases: Your Top Six Questions Answered."