Documentation workshops

Monday, June 30, 2008

PITTSBURGH--The rehab industry continues to learn new things about the requirements for providing power mobility devices.

During a May 29 workshop, Dr. Paul Hughes, the medical director for Jurisdiction A, advised providers against driving any part of the process of supplying power wheelchairs. When beneficiaries call about power wheelchairs, for example, Hughes advised providers to direct them to physicians.

“(Hughes) was clear: Medicare wants providers to keep their fingerprints off of patients,” said Mark Schmeler, a University of Pittsburgh faculty member who presented at the workshop.

AAHomecare’s Rehab and Assistive Technology Council (RATC) and the University of Pittsburgh hosted the workshop. About 100 attendees, mostly providers, viewed the workshop online. Another 20 attended in person at the university.

In particular, Hughes advised providers not to drive in-home assessments conducted by independent clinicians. He recommended they keep a list of independent PTs and OTs and rehab clinics on hand to share with patients and physicians.

“Nowhere is it written that an in-home assessment isn’t allowed,” said Georgie Blackburn, vice president of government relations and legislative affairs for Blackburn’s in Tarentum, Pa., who presented at the workshop. “But in audits, Dr. Hughes shared that more scrutiny would be given to claims illustrating in-home assessments to make sure they weren’t initiated by providers.”

For a fee, a replay of the workshop is available at Organizers encourage providers to let physicians know about the workshop, especially a presentation by Dr. Brad Dicianno, the chief medical director for UPitt’s Center for Assistive Technology.

“This workshop should put a lid on this idea that physicians don’t know how to assess and document for power wheelchairs,” she said.