Providers reach out to physicians

Saturday, December 31, 2005

YARMOUTH, Maine - Several rehab providers and state associations will take matters into their own hands and host programs in 2006 to educate physicians on CMS's transition from CMNs to prescriptions and notes for power mobility devices.
A common theme in the industry's comments on CMS's interim final rule was the need for the agency to boost physician education efforts (See story page 23). But providers like Tarentum, Pa.-based Blackburn's Physicians Pharmacy and state associations like the Pennsylvania Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers (PAMS) aren't waiting for CMS to pick up the slack.
They've teamed up with Pride Mobility to host an educational program at the Sheraton Station Square Hotel in Pittsburgh on Feb. 9. They hope to school more than 200 physicians on documentation changes and other requirements.
"For this particular mobility policy change, we felt we needed to speak directly to physicians," said Georgie Blackburn, the compliance director at Blackburn's. "In a lot of cases, just going to the OTs or the PTs--the clinical people--we can get things across and have a good dialogue, but this has a lot of accountability for physicians."
Physicians attending the program, which has been endorsed by the Alleghany County Medical Society, will hear presentations from industry heavyweights like Dan Meuser, president of Pride Mobility; Michael Boninger, physician at the University of Pittsburgh; and Dr. Paul Hughes, medical director for Region A.
"I don't think physicians ever have the opportunity to sit and hear information directly from someone representing Medicare," Blackburn said of having Hughes on hand.
Tyrrell Hunter, president of Majors Mobility in Topsham, Maine, also plans an educational program for physicians and nurse practitioners in early 2006.
"We're still having trouble getting patient chart notes from physicians," Hunter said. "They're filling out the algorithm, but we're not getting the back-up documentation we're supposed to have on file. We're trying two, three times."
Even though there's an amendment to delay the IFR currently working its way through Congress, it's still worth schooling physicians on the changes now, Blackburn said.
"If there is a temporary delay, that's essentially all it is," she said. "It's more important to get the information out there."